CEDAR RAPIDS — All the Cedar Rapids Xavier hitters needed was a second look at Decorah’s starting pitcher.
After posting just one hit through two shutout innings against Decorah senior pitcher Jace Johnson, the top-ranked Saints erupted for seven runs and six hits in the third inning of a 9-4 victory in a Class 3A baseball district final Monday night at Ken Charipar Field.
“We just squared it up, just saw him again, that kind of thing,” Xavier Coach Dan Halter said. “Credit their kid. He pitched a heck of a game. He was throwing a lot of strikes, so then that second time through we were able to attack early and just square the ball up that round. That was nice to see.”
Xavier (37-2) has won 24 games in a row and will host Charles City (18-16) in a substate final Wednesday at 7 p.m. Win there, and the Saints will qualify for the state tournament for the first time since 2013.
“We just need to keep executing and everyone needs to do their job,” Xavier junior pitcher Logan McDermott said. “Just keep doing what we have been doing.”
After Decorah took a 1-0 lead with two outs in the third inning against Xavier starting pitcher Braden Albert, McDermott took the mound. He got the Saints out of an immediate jam and pitched the rest of the contest, yielding three runs and five hits with a walk and four strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings pitched.
McDermott (7-1) was the beneficiary of Xavier’s seven-run third inning, which was helped by three Decorah errors.
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“It is a lot easier just to pitch and throw strikes when you know you’re up by six runs,” McDermott said. “That just helps a lot.”
Garrett Ries posted an RBI double and Quinn Schulte delivered a two-run triple in the third inning for Xavier. Once Decorah cut its deficit to 7-4, the Saints tacked on a couple of valuable insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning with an RBI groundout by Nate Skala and Jaxson Konzen’s run-scoring single.
Drake Shelton, Andrew Murphy and Kailer McCabe all drove in runs for Decorah, which ends its season at 16-17.
CLASS 3A DISTRICT FINAL
At Ken Charipar Field
No. 1 Cedar Rapids Xavier 9, Decorah 4
Decorah 001 300 0—4 9 7
C.R. Xavier 007 002 X—9 9 1
Jace Johnson, Cael Luzum (5) and Drake Shelton. Braden Albert, Logan McDermott (3) and Garrett Ries. W — Logan McDermott (7-1); L — Jace Johnson (3-6).
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