Trojans bounced by Tigers in 4A quarterfinal


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The fifth-seed Iowa City West Trojans fell to the fourth-seeded West Des Moines Valley Tigers, 10-5, at Principal Park in Des Moines on Wednesday. The Tigers’ five extra-base hits ultimately decided the contest.

A four-pitch walk leading off the game to Valley shortstop Nolan Lodden proved costly for Trojan starter Kellen Yoder. Yoder entered the game as an owner of one of the two sparkling 7-0 records on the Trojans pitching staff.

Lodden scored when the next batter, junior Tanner Hinkle, roped a double that squirted around in the left-field corner of Principal Park to give Valley a 2-0 lead.

Despite the shaky start, Yoder found a groove in the middle innings, rolling through the Tiger lineup at a rapid pace. He finished his day allowing 6 earned runs in 5 innings to go along with 7 strikeouts.

However, Valley’s southpaw starter, senior Nate Marshall, consistently baffled the West bats. The lefty mixed speeds effectively, inducing the Trojan offense into numerous weakly hit balls.

The first chance the Trojans had to score came in the bottom of the third, but Hinkle quelled the threat. With a runner on first and the middle of the lineup upcoming, the junior center fielder made consecutive running catches — the latter of which had him fully extending for a diving snag that robbed extra bases from Reid Bonner.

Hinkle was a factor in a majority of the Tigers scoring opportunities, and he credited the team’s game plan for success in the box.

“Coach prepared us well,” said Hinkle. “We knew Yoder would start ,and we had a feeling that Luke would come in, so we were overall pretty ready for what they brought.”

The Tigers struck again in the top of the fifth with RBI by Hinkle and Jeff Pullen, on a single and a triple respectively. This set up Austin Stephens to deliver the game’s most impressive blow.

Stephens deposited the first home run of the state tournament into the left-field bleachers to give the Tigers a 6-0 advantage off of a visibly gassed Yoder.

The Trojans finally put a crooked number up in the bottom of the fifth. Singles by Yoder’s relief pitcher Luke Crimmins, along with Ryan Siems and Bonner chased Marshall from the game after he recorded a lone out in the frame. Marshall ended his work on the rubber with 4 1/3 IP, 3 strikeouts, 3 walks, and 3 earned runs.

Another lefty, junior Ben Miller, was called upon to relieve Marshall in the middle of the fifth. The hard-throwing Miller was the victim of a second costly error of the inning by the Tiger infield. He also allowed an RBI bloop single by Devin Raffensperger. After another run scored on a bases loaded wild pitch, and the Valley lead was only 2 runs.

The game was 6-5 after another West run in the sixth, but Miller continued his performance in the batter’s box in the top of the seventh, putting the proverbial nail in the coffin of the Trojan’s day with a bases-clearing double that got to the left-field wall.

West High coach Charlie Stumpf didn’t think his team played poorly and instead praised the Tigers.

“Give them credit. They kept the pedal to the metal and kept getting at us all day,” Stumpf said. “We finally just broke as a result of all the pressure they were putting on us.”

Iowa City West ends its season with a record of 34-9, winning 17 of their final 19 games. West Des Moines now prepares for a semifinal matchup against the Ankeny Hawks on Friday.

“We’ve played Ankeny, so we know a little bit about them,” said Tiger assistant coach Tom George. “Come tomorrow night at six o’clock,Í we’ll get our scouting report, and then go about our business as usual.”

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