116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
LISBON — Their opponent is a surprise. That the Lisbon Lions are in this position is, too.
Just ask them.
“I thought we’d take it deep,” said center fielder Tyler Scott, after his team held off Hillcrest Academy, 4-2, Saturday night in a Class 1A district championship game. “But I didn’t think we’d take a district championship, no. We put in a lot of work.”
These Lions are just cubs, really, not a senior on the roster and seven sophomores in the starting lineup. Lisbon is 23-13 and plays Maquoketa Valley in a substate final Tuesday night at Solon.
The Wildcats (22-7) upset second-ranked North Linn in another district final Saturday. MV beat Lisbon in the regular season, 7-5.
Can these young guns exact revenge and make it to the state tournament in Carroll? Win or lose, this has been a terrific season, and the future looks oh, so bright.
“Our coach pushes us to be better every day, to be the best you can possibly be,” said winning pitcher Tyson Scott. “Everybody looks at us that we have no seniors and they are just going to walk all over us. Not many teams have.”
“I think it’s a lot of buy-in from the kids themselves,” said Coach John Tesensky. “As much as it’s us putting out drills and things for them do to, it’s them buying in. You look at them now, the camaraderie that they have and what they’re working with ... These guys, a lot of them had to start as eighth-graders, those sophomores, because it was the year after that 2018 run (to the state championship game) and all that. It’s nice that we’re young, but, again, a lot of them have had that experience since eighth grade, and you build on that.”
Lisbon scored all four of its runs in the second inning. Hunter Clark had a run-scoring single, Dillon Brayton an RBI groundout and Tyler Scott an RBI double off the left-field fence. A wild pitch scored the other run.
Tyson Scott made those runs hold. Hillcrest Academy (14-10) got a run in the third but stranded the bases loaded, with the exact thing happening again in the fifth.
Jace Rempet lined out to third base to end the fifth. Losing pitcher Eli Ours was really, really good for the Ravens if you eliminate that fateful second.
But, obviously, you can’t.
“Definitely surprised to hear,” Tesensky said, about being matched up against Maquoketa Valley. “But you’ve got to win no matter who you play. It’s baseball. The only thing you know is you don’t know.”
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