CEDAR RAPIDS — This has turned into the kind of place where players want to hang out all day and night. And some do.
“It’s just like a second home here,” Cedar Rapids Washington second baseman Brady Bunten said, after his team split a home doubleheader Friday night with Linn-Mar, losing the first game, 9-5, and winning the second, 9-7. “The atmosphere is great. Always happy, no down time. I mean, I spend over half of my day here. I’m here in the morning until about noon. Go home for about two hours, then come back and get ready for the game.”
Washington’s baseball diamond has undergone a quarter million-dollar renovation, and, man, it is beautiful.
The brand new playing surface is immaculate. There are new warning tracks all around the field, as well as new fencing.
That includes a big blue “Warriors” batter’s eye in center field and a blue, school-logoed skirt, or halo, around home plate. The batting cage down the left-field foul line is new as well.
“This is huge,” said Washington Coach Scott Brune. “We’ve got great parent support, a lot of excited kids, community involvement, and this happened. To raise over $225,000 in a little over two years is pretty amazing when you think about it. Where the program is now from four years ago when I started, it’s really eye opening to see the difference.”
That includes the quality of the team, too. Washington is 16-8 after this split, which completed a busy and successful 5-1 week.
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Bunten homered in both games, singling and scoring the go-ahead run in the sixth inning of the nightcap. After his hit, Drew Dostal reached on a bunt single, with Bunten stealing third and Dostal going to second on a wild pitch.
Jacob Bockenstedt’s sacrifice fly to right field scored Bunten, with Dostal also tagging, going to third, then scoring on a wild relay throw.
“The first game, I thought we came out a little flat,” Bunten said. “I was kind of disappointed with that, because we can be better than that. But once our bats get going, we’re a tough team to beat. We did a little bit better there in the second game, getting our bats going and strung stuff together like we were supposed to.”
Linn-Mar (12-14) got a pair of run-scoring hits, including a home run, from Trot Carey to take the opener.
“Wash has been playing well and swinging it very well, scoring a lot of runs, so that was a big win for us,” said Linn-Mar Coach Chad Lechner. “Hopefully something we can build some momentum off of here in the second half of the season.”
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