Cyclones survive round one battle with Boone
DES MOINES (July 24) -- Some might argue that Harlan Community was darn lucky to win Tuesday night’s Class 3A state baseball tourney quarterfinal vs. Boone.
Others would counter that the top-ranked Cyclones showed incredible resolve to overcome one unfortunate break after another.
Both groups are probably right.
One way or another, though, for the sixth time in an eight-year run of state appearances, HCHS is still standing after round one.
Erasing one-run deficits in both the fifth and sixth innings, the Cyclones scored both the tying and winning runs on bases-loaded walks by Toreador pitcher Evan Appenzeller, then got a clutch save from sophomore Connor Bruck in the top of the seventh to hold off Boone in a 5-4 thriller at Principal Park.
HCHS (32-3) managed just three hits - all singles - off Appenzeller but took advantage of five free passes in the bottom of the sixth.
Senior Jared Moser’s seeing-eye two-run single gave the Cyclones a brief 3-2 lead after five while senior Jacob Bartley and eighth-grader Joey Moser - the eight and nine batters - drew bases loaded, two-out walks in the sixth to make it 5-4.
Boone (24-9) showed some fight as well, putting two runners on with one out in the seventh and forcing Cyclone starter Brett Sears out of the game with 111 pitches. Bruck, though, calmly retired cleanup batter Zach Needham on a chopper back to the mound before striking out Clay Cornelis on a high fastball to end the game.
The second-seeded Cyclones will now face sixth-seeded Waverly-Shell Rock (34-7) in a 3A semifinal set for 11 a.m. Friday back in Des Moines (see separate story).
“I just think we’re very, very fortunate to get out of here with a win,” said HCHS coach Steve Daeges, who also acknowledged the moxie of a veteran-laden team that has played in three consecutive state title games.
“Our kids never believe they’re going to lose and they know it’s a seven-inning game,” he said. “We’ve talked about that many times but... we haven’t been behind that many times this year, so that was kind of a gut check there to see how we would respond and we did a good job.”
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