TRURO — Things couldn’t have gotten much crazier here Saturday night as Interstate 35 topped Nodaway Valley in a wild 13-12 win in the Class 2A District 14 final.
Twenty-five total runs on 23 total hits with nine errors, three intentional walks, six lead changes and the game-tying and game-winning runs scored on the same passed ball in the bottom of the seventh.
Nodaway Valley jumped out to a 6-0 lead through three and a half innings thanks to RBI base hits by Trevor Jameson, Aaron Baudler and Ryan Williams.
Meanwhile, freshman Jackson Lamb had been cruising along on the mound, allowing only three baserunners through the first three innings.
But, that’s when things began to get crazy.
Interstate 35 struck for seven runs in the fourth inning on six hits and two Nodaway Valley errors, knocking Lamb out of the game.
“They’re a good team,” Interstate 35 head coach Jeff Douglas said. “For us to come back from six runs down and score seven, three or four runs is one thing, seven runs to go ahead of them, it had to put them in a little bit of shock for a while.”
Casey Ladd, who relieved Lamb, gave up another run in the fifth inning, allowing the Roadrunner lead to reach 8-6.
But, Nodaway Valley fought back in the top of the sixth inning, showing that the Wolverines weren’t just going to wilt away after seeing a big lead slip away.
Baley Shantz led off with a single and Zach Eblen was hit with a pitch. Both runners scored on a deep double to left field by Williams. Williams came home on a Jameson single. Jameson eventually scored on a Baudler single.
Baudler, who had been struggling at the plate recently, came up with two two-out RBI base hits, including a double in the third inning.
“They were just huge,” Nodaway Valley head coach Dan Jameson said. “Especially with two outs. The way he’d been going, he just jumped on those fastballs and made it happen. He really buckled down when he needed to. Tough to go out on a loss, but he went out with his head up.”
Interstate 35 fought back in the bottom half of the inning, though; plating three runs in the inning to go up 11-10.
Once again, Shantz, the nine-hitter in the Wolverine order, started things up for Nodaway Valley, reaching on an error in the top of the seventh inning with one out.
Eblen drew a walk and after a strikeout, Jameson came up to the plate.
Nodaway Valley head softball coach Ray Stewart, sitting along the first base line, said to those around him he’d intentionally walk Jameson for the third time of the night.
Interstate 35 opted to pitch to Jameson, and he ripped a two-run double into left field to put Nodaway Valley back on top, 12-11.
Jameson, who relieved Ladd in the bottom of the sixth inning, came back out to try and close the game out in the bottom of the seventh.
He started the inning out by inducing a ground ball out, but then gave up a single to Tommy Bregar and walked Tyler Lester, the three and four-hitters in the Roadrunner lineup.
Jameson got Zach Goering to fly out to David Schweitzer in left field for the second out of the inning, putting Nodaway Valley just one out away from reaching the substate final.
But Jameson hit Dylan Webb with a 2-0 pitch to load the bases, with Lucas Ealy coming to the plate.
Jameson’s first pitch to Ealy was low and squirted past Eblen, who couldn’t find the ball. Bregar easily scored the game-tying run from third base.
As Eblen continued to look for the ball, Jameson ran in to grab the ball, but Lester was already charging home from second base, sliding in headfirst to score the game winning run in dramatic fashion.
“When I saw he couldn’t find it and my first guy was going, I turned to see where my second guy was, and he was almost on third, and I was down the line,” Douglas said. “I turned around and he’s right there looking at me. I gotta get out of the way. So, I just laid down. Obviously, he got in. I think given the nature of things and given the nature of who was on the mound, we had to take that chance. And, it worked out.”
“Our youthfulness maybe showed a little at times,” coach Jameson said. “We kept battling. That’s all we could ask of the guys. We kept battling, kept fighting. The seniors stepped up. They just kept fighting and didn’t ever give up. It was a tough way to go out, but a lot of pride for the kids. They gave us everything they had.”
For Douglas, who was coaching his final game in front of the home crowd at Interstate 35, this game embodied what high school baseball is all about.
“I love coaching teams like that,” he said about Nodaway Valley. “Because they don’t quit. Neither team quit tonight. Neither team, when they got behind two runs, neither team quit. And that’s a compliment to both teams. That’s what high school baseball is all about right there.”
Nodaway Valley ends its season at 13-14 as seniors Baudler and Williams saw their careers come to an end in the loss.
Interstate 35, now 15-11, advances to take on No. 2-ranked North Polk at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines. North Polk owns a previous 8-0 win over the Roadrunners this year.
Interstate 35 13, Nodaway Valley 12
R H E
NV 113 104 2 — 12 12 6
I35 000 713 2 — 13 11 3
Jackson Lamb 3K 0BB 1HBP, Casey Ladd (4) 3K 3BB, Trevor Jameson (6) 1K 2BB and Zach Eblen. Tommy Bregar 6K 4BB 1HBP and Tyler Lester. W — Bregar. L— Jameson. HR — none. 3B — NV: Jameson 1. 2B — NV: Ryan Williams 1, Jameson 1, Aaron Baudler 1. I35: Garrett Ostling 1. RBI — NV: Jameson 4, Williams 3, Baudler 3. I35: Bregar 2, Lucas Ealy 2, Dalton Wickett 2. Multiple hitters — NV: Jameson 3, Williams 3, Baudler 2, Baley Shantz 2. I35: Bregar 4, Lester 2, Wickett 2.