116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — Jake Jennett circled the bases and reached home plate, feeling positive about Lisbon's chances at its first state win in five years.
Hagen Waters slid into home and shared the same outlook much later.
Akron-Westfield put an end to those good vibrations, snatching a victory as forcefully as it tried to give it away with seven errors in the span of five innings.
Kyle Johnson delivered the game-winning hit in the bottom of the 11th inning to score Nick Jacobs and the third-seeded Westerners edged No. 6 Lisbon, 5-4, in the Class 1A state baseball quarterfinals Saturday at Principal Park.
'That was a heck of a battle,' Lisbon Coach Travis Bennett said. 'They worked their butts off to get to that point. It was back and forth.
'It was a heck of a game, but someone's got to win and someone's got to lose. Unfortunately, it wasn't our day.'
The Lions looked in control for the second time when perfectly executed small ball led to a go-ahead run in the last inning.
Waters opened with a base hit and moved to second on Bryce Werderman's sacrifice bunt. Ryley Scott's groundout to the right side allowed Waters to advance to third, putting Lisbon in position to capitalize on another Akron-Westfield mistake.
'We're really not a small-ball team,' Bennett said. 'For them to be able to do that, it shows how much they wanted to compete and (win) this game.'
Waters anticipated the ball getting by catcher Aaron Allard, who replaced reliever Nick Jacobs. When the pitch skipped off Allard's mitt, Waters raced home.
'Bennett told me to watch for a passed ball,' Waters said. 'I saw the approach. It happened and I scored.'
Johnson played the role of spoiler in the final frame, six innings after his two-run single tied the game, 3-3. He had three hits and three RBIs to lead the Westerners (32-2). Dylan Irizarry and Allard each added two hits and an RBI.
Conner Anderson and No. 9 batter Jacobs started the rally with singles and Anderson scored on a base hit from Irizarry, who threw 1/3 of an inning for the win. After an intentional walk and a strikeout, Johnson delivered a liner to left field to drive in Jacobs.
Johnson had been a goat earlier as his two errors — one fielding and one throwing — led to both Lions runs in the third. Despite the mistakes, his teammates continued to encourage him, saying he would get a chance to make amends.
'It feels great,' Johnson said. 'I was pretty down on myself, but my teammates picked me up. They said it'd be all right. It was kind of a bad game for us. A lot of errors, but we came together and never gave up. That was a fun win.'
Lisbon struggled against starter Austin Allard. Wes Benyshek and Cooper Siebrecht earned the Lions' first hits with one out in the third. Siebrecht's single to center went through Johnson's legs, allowing Benyshek to score and Siebrecht to reach second.
Brett Givens hit a two-out single. Siebrecht appeared to stop at third, but scored when Johnson's errant throw bounced away from the cut-off man Montana Jackson. Lisbon led, 2-0.
'We were up pretty comfortably with our pitcher throwing pretty well,' Bennett said. 'You have to give it to that team. They battled their way back into that game, even having (seven) errors. Their pitching was very good.'
Jake Jennett added to the lead, ripping a triple to the right-field warning track. He continued home and scored when the relay throw was mishandled.
'Coach Bennett tells us to take it the other way, see the ball deep and I did that,' Jennett said. 'It worked out really well.
'I was thinking three right when I saw it go over his head. Bennett started waving me home, so I paused a little bit and thought 'what's happening.' I saw they scuffed the ball'
The loss squandered solid pitching performances from starter Brett Givens and Ryley Scott. Givens went 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on just five hits. Scott gave a workmanlike effort in the loss, throwing six innings of relief and striking out seven.
'Ryley, our senior, it's his last year, came in (and) I probably should have brought him in sooner. You know, as a coach, you start to think that way,' Bennett said. 'He really did a heck of a job.'
The setback is a good learning experience. The Lions plan to work harder in the offseason.
'Team cohesiveness on the field, get used to it in the offseason (and) in the weight room,' junior Austin Krob said. 'Come in better and more ready than everyone else for the regular season.'
The Lions finished the season 31-6. They earned the program's sixth state berth and first since 2012. Lisbon has just two seniors on its roster, returning the nucleus of a successful and talented team.
'This is going to sting for a while,' Jennett said. 'I know all of us are going to want to be right back here next year, so we'll keep putting in the work in the offseason. There's no reason we can't be back here.'
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