LISBON — The Lisbon baseball team features seven seniors that have played together since youth ball a decade ago.
As juniors, the group was instrumental in helping the Lions reach the state tournament for the first time in five years. Saturday night, they played their final home game as teammates with every one of their goals still in reach.
“You come in here, you’re never going to stop,” Lisbon senior Jake Jennett said after the second-ranked Lions dispatched HLV, 8-1, in a Class 1A district final at Lisbon City Park. “All nine of us could stay out here all day long. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s a beautiful thing to have.”
Lisbon (33-0) remains the only undefeated team this season in Iowa prep baseball and can qualify for the state tournament for the second year in a row with a win in a substate game against Iowa Mennonite (16-9) on Tuesday in Washington.
“They’ll be hungry,” Lisbon Coach Travis Bennett said. “They will be gunning for whoever we play. ... They will be very hungry to get back to Principal (Park in Des Moines, site of the state tournament). That has been their goal all year.”
After HLV opened the top of the first inning with a run, Jennett kick-started the Lisbon offensive attack with a leadoff single, stole second and scored the tying run when senior Austin Krob tripled.
“Bennett always tells me that, ‘Just go up and do your thing,’” said Jennett, who finished the game with three singles and two runs scored. “And if I do get out, everyone gets out. I’ve got eight guys behind me who can fill me in, so they’ve got my back and I’ve got theirs.”
Juniors Hagen Waters and Cobe Siebrecht each tacked on RBI singles that extended the Lions’ lead to 3-1 after one frame.
Two innings later, Waters pushed the advantage to 5-1 with a two-run home run to left-center field, his second in two games and sixth of the season.
“It was a high pitch and Bennett has been helping us working on high tee,” Waters said. “I give all the credit to Bennett on that.”
Krob and Waters both scored twice and capped the night of scoring with sacrifice-fly RBIs in the fourth inning.
Lisbon starting pitcher Brett Givens improved to 10-0 this season on the mound. Krob struck out seven of the 10 batters he faced in three innings of relief.
“They attack the zone,” Bennett said. “They have three pitches working most of the time and they can throw them in all counts.”
Sophomore Kody Timm drove in a run with a bunt single in the first inning for HLV, which ends its season at 20-7. With just one senior on the roster, the future appears very bright for a Warriors’ squad seeking the first state tournament berth in school history.
“We had one of the best seasons that we’ve had in years,” HLV Coach Wes Warwick said. “We’ve just got to figure out a way to get better.”
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Lisbon’s Tri-Rivers Conference foes, North Linn and Alburnett, also advanced to substate finals. No. 3 North Linn beat Calamus-Wheatland 10-0 in five innings and will play Wapsie Valley on Tuesday at West Delaware. Fifth-ranked Alburnett rallied from a 4-0 deficit against Hudson and scored twice in the seventh for a 5-4 victory. The Pirates will travel to Cedar Falls on Tuesday to face Don Bosco.
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