116 3rd St SE
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Kirkwood baseball survives another tight, high-scoring affair, edging DMACC, 14-13
Eagles in championship round of NJCAA Division II Region XI tournament
CEDAR RAPIDS — In a Saturday afternoon/evening marathon in which neither team seemingly could get the other out, the winning run was scored on ... a fielder’s choice.
It was Chase Moseley who had that fielder’s choice, a chopper to shortstop in the seventh inning that he was able to beat out at first to avoid an inning-ending double play and provide Kirkwood with what turned out to be a 14-13 win over DMACC in an NJCAA Division II Region XI tournament winner’s bracket game at Mount Mercy.
The top-seeded Eagles (40-15) have done in their two games here what they’ve done all season: just simply outscore their opponent. Kirkwood won its opener of this six-team tourney Friday over Southeastern, 9-8.
It’ll play Southeastern (41-20) again Sunday with two chances to win one game and a spot in a district final next weekend. The first game Sunday is scheduled for 1 p.m., with the if-necessary affair to follow.
Kirkwood appeared to be on its way to a rout when it scored six runs in the bottom of the first inning. The flurry included a grand slam from catcher Trenton Burkhalter.
But DMACC (35-21) rallied to tie it in the fourth on former Alburnett prep Reed Stallman’s run-scoring single. The Bears took their first lead, 9-8, with three runs in the fifth and added three more in the sixth on an inside-the-park, two-run homer by Jayden Singleton.
But a five-spot in the bottom of the sixth put Kirkwood back on top, 13-12. That included a home run by Parker Shupe, the nation-leading 101st this season by the Eagles.
“Pete Lauritsen, he’s the best hitting coach I’ve ever had. The best one I’ll probably ever have,” said Burkhalter, whose first-inning blast was Kirkwood’s coveted 100th. “I love the man. He knows every single thing and teaches you how to move your body the right way to have as much power as we produce ... It’s no accident. We train for it, for sure.”
“What we train is to hit the ball as hard as we can,” said Kirkwood Coach Todd Rima. “And we want to get good pitches ... They work on that all the time. When we get pitches to hit, we want to get our best swing off and do some damage.”
DMACC made it 13-all with a run in the top of the seventh, but an error led the way to what turned out to be this game’s final run in the bottom half. Closer Bryce Schares pitched the final two innings for his 11th save, striking out Jackson Fisher swinging with two runners on to end it.
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