DES MOINES —
Final score, 6-5 Warriors in eight innings. Somehow, someway, Van Buren is moving on to Thursday afternoon’s 1A State Semifinals.
“This team just fights and scratches and claws. That’s always been a characteristic of our team,” Warriors head coach Chad Scott said after watching his Warriors score four unearned runs in the final two innings aided by six of Don Bosco’s seven errors. “We’ve had rallies in the seventh inning before. Maybe not quite like that, but this team never gives up.”
“I’ll admit, I’ve never quite seen anything like those last couple of innings.”
The head coach of the Warriors wasn’t alone.
“I have really never been a part of any game where you are down to your last strike and you get back in with the other team committing four errors like that,” junior Robby Laughlin, who picked up the win in relief of Sprouse, said. “That’s one of the craziest things I have ever seen.”
Van Buren spent the entire night bouncing back after Don Bosco hit Sprouse hard in the opening frame. Rhoads, starting pitcher Tyler Backes and Bagby strung together the three straight hits with Backes tripling in Rhoads before scoring on Bagby’s first of three straight singles to put the Dons up 2-0 in a rough introduction to the state atmosphere for the Warriors.
But Backes would be much kinder to Van Buren hitters in the bottom of the inning, serving up the first three of his six walks. A Barker RBI single and Sprouse’s RBI bases-loaded walk evened the score at 2-2 after one.
“I was a little bit on the ropes in that first inning, but we came right back at them,” Sprouse said. “That kind of shut them down for a while.”
“Anytime you get hit, you want to get right back up and hit right back,” Scott added.