Prep Baseball

3A No. 1 Cedar Rapids Xavier sweeps 4A No. 4 Iowa City West in baseball doubleheader

Saints post shutout in opener; break out for 16 runs in nightcap

Cedar Rapids Xavier's  Ben Kisting (19 pitches against Cedar Rapids Jefferson in the championship game of the Metro baseball tournament at Mount Mercy in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Xavier's Ben Kisting (19 pitches against Cedar Rapids Jefferson in the championship game of the Metro baseball tournament at Mount Mercy in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, May 23, 2019. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — One shutout. One blowout.

One big doubleheader sweep for Cedar Rapids Xavier.

The class 3A top-ranked Saints received a complete-game three-hitter from Bryson Bastian in the opener and then erupted for a 10-run inning in the nightcap, beating host 4A No. 4 Iowa City West, 3-0 and 16-1 in four innings, Wednesday night at West.

“The margin was unexpected in Game 2, but I’m pleased with the way our pitchers threw strikes,” Xavier Coach Dan Halter said. “We played clean defense behind them the whole night.

“Their pitcher in Game 1 was very tough. We had to fight to scratch out a few runs against him. In Game 2, the flood gates kind of opened up.”

Bastian (2-0) threw a gem in a pitcher’s duel against West’s Casey Marvin. Bastian allowed just nine base runners all game with none making it to third base. Only three reached second and only one moved into scoring position with less than two outs.

“He’s a tough kid, a competitor,” Halter said. “He wanted to finish the game and pitch count was manageable. He did a great job keeping them off balance. He pitched a whale of a game.”

Bastian said he knew most of the West players from youth baseball. He had a good approach for most of the batters, throwing 100 pitches and facing 30 total batters.

“I kind of know their strengths and weaknesses,” Bastian said. “I kind of work toward their weaknesses and do what I can do.”

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West (7-4) squandered a strong start from Marvin. He also went the distance, giving up just four hits and striking out nine. He allowed just one earned run.

“He worked very well,” West Coach Charlie Stumpff said of the senior right-hander.

All the support Xavier (8-1) needed came in the second inning. Nick Banowetz and Nate Skala reached on singles. Isaac Ball reached on a throwing error, allowing Banowetz and Skala to scurry home for a 2-0 lead. Skala added an RBI single in the sixth.

Skala led the Saints with two hits in the first game and matched Banowetz with a team-high three hits in the twinbill.

“I just waited for my pitch to come around, working my at-bats,” Skala said. “Two-strike pitches worked well for me.”

Xavier broke out in the third inning of the second game. The Saints sent 15 batters to the plate with all nine starters scoring. Xavier managed eight straight runs between the first two outs, getting a grand slam that bounced off the school from Kyle Moeder. Ball added an RBI double in the frame.

Quinn Schulte had a three-run double to put Xavier on the board in the second.

“Once we know one guy can get on, we know we can get a big inning going,” Skala said. “People were working at-bats and then getting base hits going and going.

“We can compete with any team, I think.”

Ben Kisting improved to 4-0. He gave up just four hits and a run with two outs in the final inning.

“We just ask him to do his job and give us innings,” Halter said. “He does a good job of throwing strikes, generally. He lets his defense work.”

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Kisting helped drop the Saints’ earned-run average below 2.20. Xavier trails only 4A No. 2 Western Dubuque in team ERA in the Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Division. The Saints have allowed just 17 earned runs in 55 innings.

“He’s made big-time improvements for us,” Bastian said of Kisting. “He’s been working hard in the offseason. All of our pitchers have been working out and you can tell it’s been paying off. We’re going to keep on pushing ourselves.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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