LISBON — Few Iowa high school baseball teams have built as much momentum heading into the postseason as Lisbon.
The Lions have been on a roll in recent weeks, overcoming a slow start that was filled with tough Tri-Rivers Conference competition and a target on their backs from a Class 1A state final appearance last season.
“We’re getting hot,” Lisbon senior Hagen Waters said. “The more we keep winning, the more fun we’re having. I think that’s why we’re hot right now.”
Lisbon captured its 16th victory in its last 17 games, pounding Tipton, 14-0, in five innings on Senior Night Tuesday at Lisbon City Park. The Lions improved to 22-11 and will host a 1A district game Saturday.
“We’ve had 16 guys who all wanted to compete,” first-year Lisbon head coach John Tesensky said. “Whether it was our shortstop or our guy doing the book, it’s just been selflessness where they want to go out and win.”
The Lions graduated seven seniors from last year’s squad. They opened the season with a fairly young group, building resilience through a 6-10 start. The seniors helped provide leadership as the team gained confidence and experience, recording a victory last week over then-No. 2 Dike-New Hartford.
Lisbon honored Hagen, Ryne Mohrfeld, who ended the game with a spectacular diving catch in left field, and Cobe Siebrecht, who is 5-1 with a 1.09 earned-run average, before the game.
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“I think it starts from there,” Tesensky said of the senior trio. “The 13 other underclassmen feed off that. There has been a lot of camaraderie built the last 16 to 17 games.”
The Lions were in control from the start against the Tigers (11-16). Seven starters had at least one hit, while eight scored at least one run and six scored twice. Lisbon pulled away with nine runs on six hits in the third, sending 14 batters to the plate.
Hagen threw a three-hitter, striking out six for his fifth win of the year. He also led the way at the plate, going 4-for-4 with three RBIs. He has embraced his role as a leader.
“I know a lot of guys look up to me,” Hagen said. “I’m there for them and I take feedback from them, too.”
Lisbon will start its trek for a repeat trip to state at home against Lone Tree. Lisbon appears to be playing its best at the right time.
“We’re hitting our peak now,” Tesensky said. “It’s not as sexy to go 22-11 as 30-0 like last year, but I’ll take this team. They are competing and playing their hearts out.”
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