Prep Baseball

Linn-Mar baseball rallies to beat Cedar Rapids Prairie with neither team at its best

Lions 'stayed with it' for 8-7 victory

Linn-Mar Lions
Linn-Mar Lions

CEDAR RAPIDS — It wasn’t what the Linn-Mar Lions planned, not the manner in which they wanted to win.

The consolation is the Lions still came out on top, even when they weren’t at their best.

Seventh-ranked Linn-Mar capitalized on four Cedar Rapids Prairie miscues and recorded an 8-7 victory in a Mississippi Valley Conference prep baseball game Wednesday night at Prairie.

Linn-Mar Coach Kyle Rodenkirk said he was proud the Lions battled back from a three-run deficit with two innings left.

“I give them credit,” Rodenkirk said. “They stayed with it. We just told them that we’re 18-5 right now and their coaches are still griping on them and looking for perfection. It’s good problem to have.

“Good teams find a way to win. We’re not there yet, but I hope the future holds some good things for us.”

Greg Hall’s hustle with two outs allowed him to score on an error of Michael Weiss’ flyball for the winning run in the top of the seventh.

“Once I saw the ball put in play I just took off,” Hall said. “I knew I was thinking (third) right off the bat and coach started waving me home. I just kept going.”

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Linn-Mar conjured up a late rally with the help of some Prairie mistakes that led to four runs in the final two innings.

The Lions (18-5, 16-3) began clawing back into the game in the sixth, getting a one-out walk from Drew Strottman. Hall followed with a flyball to shallow right that was misplayed and allowed Strottman to reach third. Eli Scott’s sacrifice fly scored Strottman.

Tyler Oberbroeckling’s infield single loaded the bases. A passed ball allowed Hall to score and an errant throw to the plate bounded far enough away for Weiss to come in with the tying run on the same play.

“I want to be aggressive on the basepaths,” Rodenkirk said. “I want them to get dirty.

“Greg Hall has really stepped up this year and has been a catalyst for us on the base paths. He’s really a smart baserunner and the thing about it is sometimes you have to win games that way.”

The Lions took an early lead with three runs in the first. Prairie starter Aiden Moeller walked the bases loaded. Alex Greene delivered a deep three-run single with two outs, chasing around the speedy Coy Sarsfield, who was running on the full-count pitch.

Prairie answered in the bottom of the second, taking advantage of some control problems from Linn-Mar starter Tavian Taylor. The Hawks opened the frame with two walks and loaded the bases when Logan Andeway was hit by a pitch. Sophomore Bronx Lewis, the No. 9 batter, stepped in with a two-run single. Lewis scored on Carson Sirowy’s single and Zach Barden added a sacrifice fly.

The Hawks (10-12, 7-9) took the lead in the fifth on RBI singles from Hunter Whinery and Ryan Kilpatrick.

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Eli Scott threw earned the victory in relief. He didn’t allow a run in the final two innings, squashing a late rally with two strikeouts to end the game and stranding two Prairie runners on base. Scott also finished with two hits at the plate.

“Eli had a great game,” Rodenkirk said. “We had him on a short bullpen day. You could tell that switch flipped once we got it tied. It was his game and that’s the mentality we’re trying to get out of these guys.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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