116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — It took a while for Linn-Mar to get rolling.
Probably longer than expected and later than the Lions wanted. Once they broke free, there was no stopping them.
Second-seeded Linn-Mar busted open a scoreless game with a six-run fifth and recorded a 10-0 victory in six innings over No. 5 Waterloo East in a Class 4A substate baseball first-round game Saturday at Oak Ridge Middle School. The game was postponed from Friday due to wet grounds.
The Lions (23-16) stranded five runners through the first four innings, including a runner slipping and fall rounding third to miss out on a run in the opening frame. They bided their time.
“We kept telling the guys that if you string hits together good things are going to happen,” Linn-Mar Coach Kyle Rodenkirk said. “We finally did that in the fourth and fifth innings and put some pressure on them. I’m happy the boys got this first win but we have a lot of work to do in the second round.”
A two-out rally catapulted Linn-Mar into a lead. The Lions’ No. 9 batter, Jaxon Kramer, led off with a base hit that got by drawn-in corners. Henry Read drew an intentional walk sandwiched between a Matthew Buse sacrifice bunt and a flyout, giving Linn-Mar two on and two out.
Blake Daubenmier’s groundball to second was misplayed, allowing the first run to score. Kirk Martin, Manny Weiss and Jackson Mishler followed with RBI singles. Ashr Harris also reached on an error and scored.
“It was huge,” Read said. “A leadoff hit. He showed drag (bunt), which brought the third baseman in and allowed the ball to get through. Buse putting down a huge bunt and that sparked our bench.
“From there, everyone just seemed to find the groove.”
In the sixth, Buse started the final outburst with a single, scoring right before Read on McKade Jelinek’s two-run triple. Harris added an RBI double and Martin scored the final run on a wild pitch.
Weiss had three of Linn-Mar’s 13 hits. Jelinek and Mishler had two hits apiece.
“I’m happy where we are at one through nine,” Rodenkirk said. “It’s a matter of getting some confidence and trying to take on the Trojans again.”
He was also content with Read’s performance on the mound. Read worked all six innings, allowing two hits and just four total base runners. None of them reached second base.
“I kept my fastball down,” Read said. “At the beginning of the game, I didn’t have my off-speed. If you don’t have your off-speed, you have to locate your fastball and I was able to do that.”
Read recorded his second win of the season. He struck out three. Read retired the last six in order and 10 of the final 11 batters.
“I tip my hat to Henry Read,” Rodenkirk said. “He battled for us. You’ll always take a two-hit shutout in six innings.
“He’s a gamer and why he’s one of our team leaders.”
The Lions have warmed up in the last half of the season. They are 12-5 since June 15. Linn-Mar will host No. 3-seed Iowa City West at 7 p.m. Monday. The Trojans advanced with a 12-4 win over Cedar Rapids Washington on Friday. The teams split a doubleheader June 20.
“We need to come out and execute the little things,” Read said. “Get bunts down, move runners and throw strikes. We have a really good defense, so let them do their work.”