TRURO — Mount Ayr struck first, but a three-run fifth inning propelled host Interstate 35 past the Raiders in a 5-3 loss in the Class 2A District 14 semifinals here Tuesday.
The Raiders started a two-out rally in the top of the first inning as freshman Jacob Taylor beat out an infield single and scored on an Austin Quick single to left field, taking a 1-0 lead.
But the Roadrunners answered back with a two-out rally of their own in the bottom of the third inning to take a 2-1 lead on an RBI single by catcher Tommy Bregar and a bases loaded walk by Dylan Webb.
"When we prepared, we said we have to swing the bats," Interstate 35 head coach Jeff Douglas said. "Well, in the first three or four innings, we didn't. Then we adjusted, got a couple to go through on the right field side and that helped us."
Mount Ayr wasn't down and out just yet, though, as Dylan Doman drove in courtesy runner Casey Paxson with an RBI single to right field in the top of the fourth inning, making it a 2-2 game.
"We never gave up," Mount Ayr head coach Tanner Rinehart said. "It was a 1-0 game forever, and they got ahead 2-1 and we did a nice job of fighting back, never giving up."
Interstate 35 took control in the bottom of the fifth inning with three runs on four hits to take a 5-2 lead.
Zach Goering hit an RBI single to right field and Webb plated two with a single up the middle.
But once again, Mount Ayr battled back, this time scoring a single run in the top of the sixth inning.
Quick reached base after being hit with a pitch and moved to third base on a pair of groundouts before scoring on a passed ball. But the Raiders couldn't keep the rally going in the sixth and went three up, three down in the seventh inning, ending the game on a double play.
"Mount Ayr's got a quality team," Douglas said. "They pay hard and they never quit. They keep coming at you."
"We had momentum," Rinehart said. "We were in the game the whole time. The guys came to play and gave it their all. They didn't hang their heads. Just came up a little short."
Mount Ayr ends its season with a mark of 17-13, with six seniors playing in their final game for the Raiders.
Heath Evans, Zane Sickels, Quick, John Triggs, Doman and Jake Still all ended their careers Tuesday night, and all six were starters this season for the Raiders.
"It was an emotional night out there," Rinehart said. "We lose six seniors with four years worth of time and dedication. All six starters, that will leave huge holes to fill next year. Their leadership showed all year and just a great group of kids. Couldn't be prouder of them."
Interstate 35, meanwhile, improves to 14-11 for the season and advances to take on Nodaway Valley at 7 p.m. Saturday in Truro with the district championship on the line.
Interstate 35 5, Mount Ayr 3
R H E
MA 100 101 0 — 3 3 2
I-35 002 003 0 — 5 8 1
Jake Still 5K 2BB 3HBP and Zane Sickels. Tyler Lester 7K 4BB 1HBP and Tommy Bregar. W — Lester. L— Still. HR — none. 3B — none. 2B — none. RBI — MA: Austin Quick 1, Dylan Doman 1. I-35: Dylan Webb 3, Bregar 1, Zach Goering 1. Multiple hitters — I-35: Goering 3.