CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Prairie has made a habit of rallying this season.
The Hawks have four come-from-behind victories and two more won in their last at-bat. They tried hard to add another to the list.
Class 4A fourth-ranked Prairie placed the tying run in scoring position, but couldn’t finish a late comeback, falling to No. 10 Davenport West, 9-7, Tuesday night at home.
The Hawks (13-4) allowed 10 walks and committed six errors, contributing to at least seven unearned runs.
“We just had too many mistakes,” Prairie Coach Todd Rima said. “Sometimes that happens. Tonight, they all happened on the same night. That didn’t make it any easier.”
Things started well. Prairie starter Dalton Rayner retired the Falcons in order and the Hawks pounced on his counterpart, Alex Hunt, getting a leadoff double by Levi Usher, who eventually stole home. Harrison Cook was hit by a pitch between walks to Logan Burg and Mason Hook. Griff Clark and Ryan Kilpatrick added sacrifice flies to make it 3-0 after one.
West answered with two runs thanks to bases-loaded walks in the second. The wheels came off in the fourth. West tallied six runs in the frame, taking advantage of three errors and four walks for an 8-3 lead.
“It wasn’t very clean,” Rima said. “It’s hard to win when you give up 15 or 16 free bases against anybody and then to beat a good team with free bases makes it too difficult.”
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Prairie struggled through the middle innings, but rebounded late. Jaylynn Smith led off the fifth with a single, which was the first hit since Usher’s leadoff double. Usher followed with a triple to score Smith, cutting the deficit to 8-4.
Smith was a spark again in the seventh when the Hawks made a last-ditch rally. He led off with a single and stole second. After walks to Burg and Cook, Mason Cook belted a three-run double to right with one out. Ryan Kilpatrick reached on an error and stole second, but reliever R.J. Joiner notched a strikeout to end the game.
Usher and Smith had two hits apiece to lead Prairie.
“I was thinking that I was going to get on base,” Smith said. “I just had faith in my teammates. We came up a little bit short but it was a pretty good fight.”
Hunt only allowed four of the hits, striking out eight for West (10-4).
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