DES MOINES -- Ankeny pushed across a run in the bottom of the seventh inning for an 9-8 walkoff victory over Dubuque Hempstead in the Iowa Class 4A state baseball semifinals tonight at Principal Park.
No. 8 hitter Cooper Cox led off the inning with a towering double to the wall in left-center field and took third on Lucas Juhl’s perfectly executed bunt. The winning run scored on a wild pitch.
The Mustangs threatened in the top of the first inning but weren’t able to push across a run. Kellen Strohmeyer led off the game with a walk, but Ankeny caught a huge break when Zach Sabers’ hit-and-run grounder led second baseman Carter Smith to the bag for a bang-bang double play.
Andrue Henry and Logan Runde followed with base hits, and Devin Eudaley walked to load the bases. Ankeny starter Sam Andrews struggled with his command early, but he got out of the inning when he caught Max Pins looking on a 3-2 pitch.
Ankeny wasted no time in taking command in the bottom of the inning, as the first six hitters in the lineup singled before Eudaley made a diving catch in right field for the first out. Mo Watson drove in the first run, the second scored on an overthrow following Brody Brecht’s infield single, and Smith made it 4-0 with a liner inside the left field line.
Kade Somers also drove in a run on Eudaley’s web gem in right field. The Hawks sent nine batters to the plate in the inning and scored five times on five hits.
Hempstead again loaded the bases in the second, when Trey Schaber and Dan Schope walked to chase Andrews from the mound, and reliever Cooper Cox hit No. 9 hitter Michael Garrett. Cox then walked Strohmeyer and Sabers to force in runs, and his night was done.
Henry greeted reliever Dylan Schlee with a long sacrifice fly to right-center field, and Runde added a long sac fly to left-center field to pull Hempstead within 5-4 without the benefit of a hit in the inning.
Ankeny responded in the bottom of the second with Smith’s two-out, two-run triple inside the left-field line. The seven runs matched the most allowed by Hempstead this season. Wahlert also scored seven times against the Mustangs in the first half of Hempstead’s July 13 doubleheader sweep at Core Field.
The Mustangs kept swinging, though, and pulled ahead with a four-run third. Pins singled and Schaber reached on an error before Garrett delivered an RBI single to right field for the first run of the inning. Schaber scored on a well-executed hit-and-run through the right side of the infield by Strohmeyer, and Garrett later came across when Ankeny mishandled a first-and-third steal attempt to tie it.
Sabers drilled a gapper to the left-center field wall to give Hempstead its first lead of the night at 8-7.
An inning later, the Hawks re-tied it. Jase Bauer led off with a triple down the right-field line and scored on Watson’s bloop single to right-center.
An inning later, Watson came up with the bases loaded and two outs. But Runde struck him out to keep the game at 8-8.