CEDAR RAPIDS — If somehow Cedar Rapids Washington goes on to win a state baseball championship next week, it will always look back at The Double and The Catch as reasons why.
The Double was provided by Luke Jonasson, The Catch by Lincoln Riley, and they played crucial roles in the Warriors’ 2-1 victory Wednesday night over Davenport Central in a thriller of a Class 4A substate final at Washington.
Which one do you want to talk about first? How about Jonasson’s hit, a twisting drive with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning that one-hopped the fence in left-center field to plate Nolan Cavanaugh with the go-ahead run.
“Honestly, I was just looking for a pitch that I could handle. I got one,” Jonasson said. “I thought it was a routine flyball, so I started jogging a little bit. It kept carrying, and our first-base coach Austin Christensen said ‘Get on your horse,’ so I took off running. That was one heck of a moment.”
So was Riley’s defensive gem in the top of the seventh. A dropped flyball and wild pitch moved the tying run into scoring position with only one out for Central.
Blue Devil Andrew Hegland then smoked a line drive to third that seemed destined to make it 2-2. But Wash sophomore third baseman Riley dove to his right, had the ball go in and out of his glove, then back into his bare hand as he laid on the ground.
“It was kind of hard to see with the school (in the background),” Riley said. “I tried to keep it in front of me, I bobbled it, but I called on my wide receiver skills there and snagged it back in.”
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“Scared the crap out of me,” said winning pitcher Jacob Bockenstedt, who threw a complete-game three-hitter. “But you couldn’t have a more dramatic catch. Or more of a dramatic ending, I guess.”
A hard one-hopper to second baseman Brady Bunten followed, with Bunten smothering it, picking it up and throwing to first to send Washington (25-14) to the state tournament for the seventh time, the first time since 2009.
“We definitely tried to get it away to them, but we made plays when we needed to,” said Washington Coach Scott Brune. “I’m happy for the guys. They deserve it.”
Washington tied the game at 1-1 in the fifth on a Drew Dostal RBI single but had two guys thrown out at the plate on that play. Central (15-19) took a 1-0 lead in the third on a two-out run-scoring hit from Bobby Magnus.
Washington lost star center fielder Trey Leonard late in the regular season, when he left the team to begin classes at the University of Louisville, where he will play baseball. But the Warriors hung in there and take a three-game win streak to state.
“We knew we were losing a good player in Trey,” Brune said. “But we knew we had guys that could fill the spot.”
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