“I challenged them to when this district started they would decide how far they would go with their own play. They showed that working hard every play from the start to the end.”
Because of that, none of the players were shocked or surprised by what they were able to accomplish in qualifying for state with a win over the 17-9 Bulldogs from the north division of the Southeast Iowa Superconference.
“We knew something big was going to happen this year,” junior third baseman Griffin Osing said. “We knew we were loaded from the beginning. We knew we were. This whole season came around really well. We started out hot, fought through some tough competition and peaked when it mattered. All that matters now is that we’re there.”
Coming off two victories decided on a game-winning play at the plate and a game-winning hit in extra innings, Albia made Tuesday’s game slightly less dramatic by scoring a run in each of the first two innings and never relinquishing the advantage.
Starting pitcher Victor Sanders had a lot to do with that. Already the winning pitcher in those two dramatic one-run wins over PCM and Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, Sanders had to overcome a first-inning rally by Mediapolis by getting out of a bases-loaded jam before watching as Brett Leshen’s one-out double to right in the bottom of the frame gave the senior hurler a lead to work with.
“The control was a little tough in that first inning. Things like working on a new mound always makes it a little tougher to establish that control,” Sanders said after allowing just one earned run in his second complete-game effort of the postseason. “I’ve been working out of trouble a lot this year. Getting out of trouble again in this game really seemed to boast our confidence early on.”