CEDAR RAPIDS — The top of the third inning of the nightcap rolled around Monday night, and, unexpectedly, all of the sprinklers on Cedar Rapids Jefferson’s baseball diamond popped out of the ground and spurted water.
By the time they could be turned off, the pitcher’s mound was soaked, and the batter’s box was moist as well. It took diamond dry and lots of raking to make everything playable again.
Just an example of Murphy’s Law at its worst for the J-Hawks, who promptly gave up a run when things resumed and seemed a couple innings later well on their way to continuing to be 0-for the season. But, then, just as unexpectedly, everything turned completely around.
Jefferson scored four runs in the sixth inning and six in the seventh to stun Linn-Mar, 11-10. The Lions rallied from behind in the opener for a 6-2 victory.
“The one thing we preach, and I think our kids believe, is in this game of baseball, you never give up. There is always a chance,” said Jefferson Coach Terry Schneekloth. “My favorite Yogi-ism is ‘It’s never over ‘til it’s over.’ I tell you what, I think there were people who left the park and truly didn’t believe we were going to come back. We talked about going station to station once we get down by several runs. As long as you keep the train moving. The train moved a long way tonight.”
Linn-Mar (3-5) took a 10-1 lead to the bottom of the sixth, only to have Jefferson (1-7) counter with four runs to make it a 10-5 game. A.J. McGuire started the seventh-inning rally with a one-out single, then it was an RBI double for Ryne Chamberlin, an infield single, a two-run double for Cal Schulte and a walk to load the bases.
Jackson Stone dang near hit a walk-off grand slam, smashing a ball that hit off the very top of the tall fence in left field that ended up a two-run double for a 10-9 game.
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“When it came off the bat, it felt good,” Stone said. “I thought it was gone.”
An intentional walk re-loaded the bases, with Kaden Haller hitting a grounder to shortstop, with Linn-Mar playing its infield in. The play was made at second base for the second out, but the return throw to first for a potential game-ending double play bounced past first, allowing Stone to sprint home with the winning run.
“I don’t think I’ve ever run that fast in my life. At least happily,” he said. “Just a confidence thing. One hit turns into two, two hits turns into a run, one run turns into five. All of a sudden, you are back in the game.”
Brendyn Mussig’s two-out, two-run double in the fifth put Linn-Mar ahead for good in the first game. He added a two-run home run in the seventh.
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