By Doug Brenneman, JOURNAL Sports
ELDON -- The Class 1A District 10 baseball game at Cardinal High School Tuesday started at 5 p.m. and didn?t finish until close to 8 p.m.
It takes awhile for 28 hits, 10 walks, seven hit batters, five errors and four pitching changes to take place.
At the end, Iowa Mennonite School came away with a 16-7 victory to improve its record to 14-9 and advances to play eighth-ranked New London Thursday at 7 p.m. in New London. New London (21-2) beat Danville (2-22) 5-3 to advance.
?It was a long game especially when you have that many walks and that many runs scored,? IMS coach Danny Herschberger said. ?We did a great job offensively of putting up a lot of runs.?
Each team had five walks. Keota had 16 hits to 12 for IMS, but IMS had three extra-base hits to two for Keota and IMS did not commit an error while Keota had five.
Two of the IMS? extra-base hits were by Reggie Borntrager. He connected on a first-inning triple to right field that scored two and a fourth-inning two-run home run.
?I haven?t been hitting too well at the end of the year, so I have been practicing more with my form,? Borntrager said. ?I just saw the pitch, squared up on it and was able to get it to right field. That is where I was trying to hit it to. I?m pretty sure that helped get me more confidence.?
He didn?t try to put it anywhere when he hit the dinger. ?I was just trying to get a hit. I saw the first pitch was a good pitch for me to hit so I decided to swing at it.? It sailed over the left-field fence for an 11-4 lead.
Keota started off with a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning with run-scoring singles by Riley Conrad and Carson Sprouse.
?We did what we need to do, being the away team,? Keota coach Tanner McClenahan said. ?We came out and put a couple runs up, but they came up to the plate and hit the ball well. They know the zone well. They hit a lot of gappers. Extra-base hits will kill you. We knew the meat of their order could do that.?
IMS sent all nine batters to the plate in the first inning to take a 5-2 lead.
Keota starter Austin Waterhouse was relieved after seven batters by J.D. Stout. Stout hit the first batter he faced, then got a double play to end the first inning.
?Our pitching plans changed a lot in the last few days,? McClenahan said. ?We?ve had some injuries and some different things of happened. This was a lineup we hadn?t played with all year. That?s the way things go. The kids knew that. We never made excuses. This was not our original pitching plan. We rode with it and obviously things did not work out.?
IMS added a run in the second inning when Trevor Leyden singled. It was the only at-bat of five that Leyden wasn?t hit by a pitch. After his single, he stole a base and scored on London Schrock?s groundout. Schrock hit a triple in the first inning.
Leyden started on the mound and was relieved by Borntrager after four innings. IMS led 11-4 at the time. Leyden fanned five, gave up eight hits and walked one.
?He has kind of been our guy this year,? Herschberger said. ?He was getting up there with a lot of pitches so we felt like we needed to go to someone else. He did a great job for us but we thought it was time to go to the bullpen.?
Borntrager was relieved by Eli Ours with two out in the fifth inning when he hit a batter. He gave up three runs on three walks and a hit. Ours gave up a hit, then got the last out of the fifth inning on a strikeout. He gave up a hit in the sixth and struck out two, then set the Eagles down in order in the seventh, including a strikeout of the last batter.
?Our pitchers did pretty well except for me,? Borntrager said. ?Eli was able to bail me out. I think next game we need to play with more focus on defense.?
Ours went 3 for 4 with four RBI and reached base in all five plate appearances.
Waterhouse went 3 for 4 with a double. Keota teammate Jack Eakins had a double. Cole Brenneman went 3 for 3. riley Conrad went 2 for 4. Sprouse went 2 for 3.
?Unfortunately our defense wasn?t quite what it needed to be at times,? Herschberger said. ?Give them credit. They came up with some big hits when needed to stay in the game but I like how our guys focused at the end and got the job done.?
Keota ends the year at 12-9 for its first winning season since 2011 when they were 15-7, although the last two years the Eagles were right there, finishing 11-11 and 10-11.
?Our guys were battling,? McClenahan said. ?I?m proud of the way we came out and I?m proud of the way we kept battling. We came back two times. We just got beat.?
Last year, the Eagles had a winning record in the South Iowa Cedar League conference and this year finished third.
?The seniors have been great,? McClenahan said of Conrad, Eakins, Brenneman and Hunter Wilson. ?They went from 0-21 their eighth-grade year. That has been awesome to see. But if you talk to them, I think they will tell you, they think they could?ve done better. We had higher expectations this year. That?s the way life goes. In our thought process, we planned on going further in the playoffs, but it just did not happen.?