DES MOINES —
“I’ve always considered Martensdale-St. Mary’s to be one of our biggest non-conference rivals,” Twin Cedars senior first baseman Eric Clark said. “It’s always big to beat them. We’ve lost to them for two straight years and to finally come here and beat them here at state is a really great feeling.”
MSM, who also beat Twin Cedars in their only other state appearance 10 years ago, could have added another season-ending chapter of heartbreak to the Sabers baseball history books on Friday. The Blue Devils countered a stellar outing by unbeaten sophomore Saber pitcher Otis Roby with one by junior ace Eddy Kraber, who struck out eight batters while pitching into the ninth.
Twin Cedars owned a brief 1-0 lead when Clark finally broke a scoreless tie in the fifth, scoring on lead-off hitter Coy Moore’s two-out RBI single to right. MSM came right back as Garrett Gehringer delivered his own two-out run-scoring hit to center, bringing in courtesy runner Alex Kim to match the Sabers at 1-1.
The Blue Devils looked for a moment like they might pull off a walk off win. After Kraber drew a lead-off walk, Dylan Gibson smashed a one-out fly ball to deep center that appeared like it might get down and bring home the MSM pitcher with the winning run until Saber centerfielder Brent Parker tracked the ball and made a spectacular catch as he fell to one knee.
Kraber’s attempt to steal second moments later was easily dashed by a laser-like throw from catcher Hunter Embray, forcing the second game of the 2013 Iowa High School State Baseball Tournament to go into extra innings.
“Hunter’s been an awesome catcher for me all year long,” Roby said. “I never have to worry about bouncing a ball all year because he’s been stopping everything. That and throwing out two runners. He’s been a great catcher for us all season long.”