Central Lee falls 9-7 to Mid-Prairie after stranding bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th.
BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
MEDIAPOLIS — Shane Weirather was thinking the same thing a lot of Iowa high school baseball coaches were thinking as the COVID-19 pandemic put the summer season in doubt.
“There was a point when I didn’t think we would have a season,” the Central Lee coach said. “I remember telling my assistant coaches what a shame it would be to not have a season. I thought this team had a chance to be one of the greatest teams at Central Lee.”
Five senior starters — seven seniors in all on the roster — gave Weirather hope.
“It would be a shame,” he said, “if they didn’t get to play.”
The Hawks got to play. They got to play up until the final out of Wednesday’s Class 2A substate final against Mid-Prairie.
Central Lee nearly came back from a six-run deficit before falling, 9-7, to the Golden Hawks.
Mid-Prairie (15-3) advanced to the state tournament in Des Moines.
Mid-Prairie broke open a 4-3 game with three runs in the fifth inning, then added two more in the sixth.
But Central Lee scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth, and added two in the seventh. The potential tying run came to the plate in the sixth, the potential winning run came to the plate in the seventh.
The Hawks couldn’t get that crucial hit.
“They’re good kids,” Weirather said. “They’re going to fight to the end, no matter what. And, by god, we had a shot there at the end. In the end, they made less mistakes than we did.”
Four walks and two errors in the third inning led to four runs for the Golden Hawks.
“It’s just not what we’ve been all year long,” Weirather said. “Give them credit — good at-bats put pressure on us. When you get pressure, you make mistakes. And we sure had our share of them tonight.”
Central Lee ended its season with a 12-2 record.
“We played pretty well (all season),” Weirather said. “Even tonight, they showed what kind of kids they are.”