116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION – Cedar Rapids Xavier sophomore Garrett Ries is tucked into the sixth spot in the Saints' batting order.
He's unlikely to step into the batter's box twice in the first inning, but that's exactly what occurred Friday night.
Ries had an RBI single and two-run double in the Saints' monstrous opening inning that led to a 14-4 victory in five innings over Center Point-Urbana in a Class 3A District 7 semifinal at Marion High School.
The Saints (18-20) sent 16 hitters to the plate in the bottom of the first. Their first 10 batters reached base and scored. Among those was Ries, who had his best varsity game with a team-high three hits and five RBIs.
'That was the first time it happened this year,” Ries said about hitting twice in the first inning. 'It was pretty cool.”
Xavier was in a 3-0 deficit after the top of the first. They were unfazed and loaded the bases immediately when Gabe Lux singled, Nolan Butkowski was hit by a pitch and Bryce Schulte smacked a base hit.
Jake Guckenberger drew an RBI walk followed by Sam Meyer's RBI double. Ries and Quinn Schulte added RBI singles. Lux connected on a two-run double in his second at-bat, coming before CPU could record an out.
'Baseball is a game of momentum,” Xavier Coach Bob Cataldo said. 'It is our first postseason game, so there were probably a few nerves to start off with but I think once everybody settled in and realized it is just a baseball game we got in our zone.”
Schulte had a sacrifice fly his second time up in the first inning and then Ries capped the scoring in the frame with a double that drove in Lux and Guckenberger.
Ries smacked a two-run double in the third and Guckenberger nailed a solo home run to left that invoked the mercy rule and gave the Saints 12 hits.
'Everybody was seeing the ball, having the confidence to do what they needed to do to do their job,” Ries said. 'That's the biggest part of the team. Everyone does their job.
'Everybody feeds off each other. Do your job and everybody else will follow you. It's pretty good.”
Ries is one of six sophomores on the varsity squad. Many saw action Friday. Ries has been a contributor most of the season. Cataldo said Ries is a good example of working and competing hard every day.
'Garrett's been the sophomore who's been up with us all year,” Cataldo said. 'He's just a good baseball player. He loves the game. He's committed to it. He works hard at it.”
Center Point-Urbana (16-21) held a brief lead. Dylan Harris led off with a single, Jon Karteus reached on an error and both scored on Jared Metzen's double. Mitchell McCauley's single drove in Metzen.
Schulte settled down and teamed with Ryan Hosch and Meyers to shut down the Stormin' Pointers.
'We have a great group of seniors, who like to compete,” Cataldo said. 'They know they have a chance in every ball game. They've been a great group to work with and they stick with the game plan and execute it. I couldn't be more proud.”
Xavier won its first playoff game since 2013. They were aware of the accomplishment, but aren't caught up with the history. The Saints will face fifth-ranked Marion in the district final Monday.
'We respect the tradition of Xavier baseball and cherish that, but this group is their own team,” Cataldo said. 'They have their own identity. They love playing the game.
'That's the joy of coming out and being around them. Their energy is very positive. It's infectious. They're having a great season.”
MARION TOPS MAQUOKETA
Fifth-ranked Marion overcame a slow start and pulled away for a 9-1 victory over Maquoketa in the other 3A District 7 semifinal.
The Indians (29-10) trailed 1-0 until they erupted for six runs in the bottom of the fourth. Marion sent 10 batters to the plate, receiving a two-run single from Blair Brooks and a two-run double from Baylor Fish. Parker Ridge and Mitch Wiese added a run-scoring single and double, respectively, giving the Indians a 6-1 edge.
Nick Cole added an RBI single to score Chase Zielke in the fifth. Zielke had a two-run double in the sixth. Zielke finished with two hits and two RBIs.
All but one Marion starter had at least one hit. Ridge, Wiese and Cole also had two hits.
Marion starter Brady Donohue tossed a complete game, striking out 13 without a walk.
Maquoketa (4-33) took the first lead in the third. Justin Snyder led off with one of his two singles and scored on Ryne Gruenwald's single.
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