116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
KEOTA - Kyle Weber walked down the stairs at Keota High School sporting his camouflage Sigourney jersey onto the field to a thunderous applause Thursday night.
He was finally back.
Over the past several days, the Sigourney sophomore had been held up in the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. His fever was pushing 104 degrees. He couldn't keep any food down. He was truly sick.
Doctors tested him for multiple different illnesses and 'nearly every bacterial virus under the sun,” but couldn't pinpoint what was wrong. Finally, though, they got his fever down and kept him stable enough to watch his team beat HLV 9-7 in a Class 1A district semifinal game on Thursday night.
'That kind of jump-started us too, when he came down the steps and did the national anthem with us,” Sigourney Coach Lee Crawford said. 'The kids got really jacked up for that.”
Seeing Weber must have truly given the Savages a boost. They jumped up to a 5-0 lead after three innings. The fourth inning kept the train moving, as sophomore Dustin Haines hit an RBI single to get them started. They then had a runner steal home on a wild pitch and quickly picked up two more runs on a missed ground ball at shortstop. By the time its run was over, Sigourney had amassed a 9-0 lead.
Finally, HLV came alive in the bottom of the fourth. The Warriors picked up three runs that inning, thanks in part to an RBI triple from sophomore Dean Shaull, then added three more runs in the fifth behind a three-run home run from freshman Kody Timm.
'I was nervous,” Crawford said. 'Our last game with them was 16-15. They were ahead, we were ahead. So I knew coming in that it was going to be a tight game at some point. Now the 9-0 lead threw that out the window for a little bit, but they're a good ballclub. They can rake.”
The Warriors grabbed another run in the sixth inning to close the gap to just two. Yet the Savages hung on in the final inning of play to seal the deal.
And while it wasn't the outcome he wanted, HLV Coach Wes Warwick said he was just happy to see his team come alive after looking so down in the first few innings of the game.
'I have freshmen and sophomores who are out there fighting, and I have juniors out there who haven't been winning in previous seasons and they've never fought, and are coming out here fighting,” Warwick said. 'You look at that, we didn't win, but we're learning how to fight. That's huge.”
Sigourney will take on Iowa Mennonite, which beat BGM 4-3 on Thursday night, in the district final Saturday in Keota.
Even though it's a quick turnaround, Crawford said he isn't worried about his opponent. He's just focused on his own team.
'We just have to play our game,” Crawford said. 'I can't control what IMS does. We have to be ready to hit a fastball. Our plate presence is more of a concern with me right now. I'm really not worried about our defense ... but getting our plate presence ready for maybe a pitcher we hadn't seen (is my biggest focus).”
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