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Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – A game that opened as a nightmare for Class 4A second-ranked West High ended with a dream sequence for Trojan senior Owen McAreavy.
McAreavy forced extra innings with a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh.
An inning later McAreavy provided the game-winning hit as West High rallied from an 8-0 deficit to stun City High 11-10 in a Mississippi Valley Conference cross-town showdown on Thursday at West High.
“I feels really, really good,” McAreavy said. “Down big early we were just trying to get back in the game. We had a really rough start and we were just trying to work hard to get back to a close game and we were able to pull it off.”
McAreavy capped a stunning seven-run West High seventh inning with a towering three-run shot to left field that tied the game at 8-8.
West High (29-6, 23-6) had four consecutive hits to open the seventh inning and set 10 batters to the plate in the inning.
McAreavy sent the game to extra innings when he drove a 2-0 fast ball from City High reliever Sam Lewers over the 305 sign in left field.
“He got me 2-0 and I was thinking drive the ball hard and swing hard,” McAreavy said. “It just happened to be a fastball mid-level across the plate and I got it out.”
An inning later McAreavy ended the game with a RBI single down the left field line that scored Ryan Cooper.
“I was kind of hoping Marcus (Morgan) would hit them in,” McAreavy said. “I already had the home run so I didn’t know if I would do it again. I just wanted to get a hit and drive them in.”
City High (21-13, 15-12) scored five runs in the first inning and led 8-0 after three while chasing West High ace Marcus Morgan.
Morgan allowed eight runs in three innings, five more than the sophomore right-hander had allowed in 37 innings entering the game.
“You just try to get them to believe anything because they were shell-shocked like all of us are,” West High coach Charlie Stumpf said. “We had 21 outs to get five and then they got eight and we were just trying to keep our composure.”
West High didn’t have a hit until the fourth and didn’t get on the board off City High starter Brady Herzic until McAreavy doubled home Jason Strunk in the sixth.
That was just the beginning for West High.
Ben Vander Leest led off the seventh with a solo home run to left and Nick Fleckenstein followed with a double, Nick Biancuzzo singled and Ben Madden doubled cutting the lead to 8-3.
The first City High error of the game plated two more and a Morgan single brought McAreavy to the plate as the tying run.
“You just try to battle at bats and put something together and finally the seventh inning all of those things worked out for us,” Stumpf said. “They finally made an error on a ball that gave us some life. Prior to that they were clean. It was a lot kids coming through and a lot of seniors doing what seniors do.”
City High answered with two runs in the eighth.
Gable Mitchell and Garrett Bormann had back-to-back singles to start the inning and scored on a double to center field off the bat of Liam McComas.
The Little Hawks loaded the bases with one out but West High senior reliever Alex Swack got back-to-back strikeouts to escape the jam.
“Swack kept it there he gave us a chance,” Stumpf said. “Then things went our way in the bottom of the eighth.”
West High had one more rally in them.
Fleckenstein led off the inning with a single to right field on a 3-2 count, Biancuzzo walked and Madden was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
“I knew the umpire had a big zone so I was trying to be aware of that,” Fleckenstein said. “I felt like I was seeing the ball pretty good and when I got that outside pitch I was able to take it that way.”
West High got a run on an RBI ground out by Strunk and Cooper reached on an error that plated another run.
Two batters later McAreavy played hero, lining a sharp single down the left field line for his fourth hit and fifth RBI of the game.
“I feel like with our team once we get a good groove going, once we get some positive things going our energy is up,” McAreavy said. “When our energy is up we perform a lot better.”
Fleckenstein had a pair of hits and scored two runs while Cooper drove in a pair of runs for West High.
“This is a big win for us,” Fleckenstein said. “It’s definitely one that we won’t forget to say the least.”
Mitchell, Zach Kuepker and Ben Steve all had two hits for City High which will host West High on Friday at Mercer Park in a rematch at 7 p.m.
“I think it says a lot about their toughness because it’s easy to say ‘it’s not our day, we aren’t catching it, we aren’t hitting it and we’ll just come back tomorrow and try again’,” Stumpf said. “Our guys found a way to keep going.”
City High 512 000 02 – 10 11 2
West High 000 001 73 – 11 13 5
W – Alex Swack L – Gable Mitchell
2B – ICH: Kolbe Schnoebelen. ICW: Chase Calderwood, Owen McAreavy, Nick Fleckenstein, Ben Madden
HR – ICW: Ben Vander Leest, Owen McAreavy
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