116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Iowa City West baseball coach Charlie Stumpff has had a hall of fame career for a reason.
Friday night in a Class 4A substate opener against Waterloo West, he had the astuteness to stick sophomore Carter Freidhof into left field for his team and into the nine hole of its batting order.
Never mind that Freidhof had only played five prior varsity games this season and had only two prior starts. The kid hadn’t gotten a hit in any of those games.
Stumpff reasoned with ace pitcher Marcus Morgan on the mound for the Trojans, he wanted his best defense behind him. Plus, he knew the moment would not be too big for this inexperienced kid.
“If you talk to him, he’s a sophomore, and he’s oblivious to what’s going on,” Stumpff said, after West topped Waterloo West, 3-2, in a game that lasted about an hour and 25 minutes. “So he’ll be fine.”
Freidhof sure was fine, pulling a solo home run to left to give the Trojans a 2-0 lead in the fifth. His first varsity hit is a long ball in a postseason game.
How about that?
“Got one right down the middle and drove it,” said the low-key Freidhof. “I didn’t even think it was going out. It didn’t feel good coming off the bat. I rounded first, heard everybody cheering, and it was like … I didn’t even think it was real.”
“He plays pretty good defense,” Stumpff said. “We’re going to try and play defense when Marcus pitches, which seems to make sense. We did stuff preseason, did simulated games, and he’s batting off Marcus. He doesn’t hit him, but he’s kind of on him. He’s hanging in there. And then he’s got a little pop.”
Morgan took care of most the rest, as West (22-14) advanced to a 4A substate semifinal Monday night at home against Cedar Falls (17-20). Cedar Falls upset substate second seed Urbandale on Friday night.
A University of Iowa-bound right-hander, pitcher Morgan gave up just two hits and a walk in a complete-game victory. Unfortunately, the lone walk came just prior to one of the hits, a big two-run homer off the bat of Waterloo West’s Luke Fordyce with two outs in the top of the sixth.
That made it a 3-2 game. Morgan didn’t get rattled, retiring the next four Wahawks to end the game, three via strikeouts. He had 14 Ks in the game.
“I felt good, other than that one pitch,” said Morgan, who drove in teammate Ian McAreavy with a two-out RBI single through the right side in the third. McAreavy was responsible for the Trojans’ third run, as he singled in the sixth, stole second and third, coming how after a throw to get him at third was misplayed and ended up in left field.
“(Fordyce) put a good swing on it. I definitely hung it,” Morgan said. “I mean, whatever, he put a good swing on it. I just had to reset, just bear down and finish the game.”
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