CEDAR RAPIDS — Three games in four days at three sites and times.
Varied routines, but similar results for Class 3A third-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier.
The Saints tallied six runs in the final two innings to pull away for a 10-5 victory over 4A No. 8 Cedar Rapids Jefferson in the Bob Vrbicek Metro baseball tournament final Thursday at Mount Mercy’s Plaster Athletic Complex.
“It’s been different,” Xavier Coach Dan Halter said. “I’m real pleased. The guys kept bouncing back, being ready to go. We’re locked in.”
Xavier won its fifth Metro tournament title and first since 2013. It’s the first of a few goals this season.
“We want to take it one game at a time and see what we can do,” Bryson Bastian said. “It’s paid off, but we still have a lot of work to do.”
Xavier opened with a 5 p.m. game Monday at Marion and played the 7 p.m. semifinal Wednesday at Oak Ridge Middle School. An earlier rainout pushed games back, forcing a venue change and a 3 p.m. start to avoid conflict with Jefferson’s graduation Thursday.
“We just try to go out and play the game,” Xavier senior Pat McGinn said. “It was weird having to play at 3 o’clock. It’s no big deal. We adjust and go out to play.”
The Saints (3-0) have continued their hot offensive start, hitting double digits for the third straight game and putting up 40 runs in just 16 innings. They finished with nine hits from all but two starters. The Saints have the ability to string together hits.
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“It seems like it the last few games,” McGinn said. “We just go out there one pitch at a time and do our job.”
Unlike the first two contests, the Saints were locked in a tight game through five innings. Jefferson’s pitching staff ran thin, piecing together innings with seven pitchers, walking 12 and plunking three more batters.
Xavier took control in the sixth, taking advantage of five walks — one intentional and two with the bases loaded — and a run–scoring wild pitch. McGinn opened the inning with a double, scoring on a walk to Bastian. Isaac Ball added an RBI single for the eventual winning run and Quinn Schulte added a run with a sacrifice fly.
The Saints took earlier leads with two runs in the second and fifth. Bastian and Nick Banowetz had RBI doubles in the second and fifth, respectively.
Bastian and McGinn had two hits apiece. Bastian paced the Saints with four RBIs. Banowetz reached base all five plate appearances.
Jefferson (2-1) had battled to tie the game twice. Drake Frazier had an RBI single in the third to score Dylan McVeigh, who hit his second double of the game in the fourth to drive in Jaxson Kevitt to tie it 2-2. In the fifth, Frazier had an RBI double to score Chase Keeney, who led off with a single. Frazier scored on a Sam Staley groundout.
Frazier went 3-for-3 with three RBIs.
“It was a battle,” Halter said. “It was a good thing for us. It was encouraging to see that both times they tied the game we put up a number in the top half.”
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