Your Prep Sports
CEDAR RAPIDS – Close.
That was the regular season in one word for the City High baseball team.
The regular season finale for the Little Hawks on Monday was more of the same.
City High dropped a pair of one-run games to Cedar Rapids Prairie (10-5) on Monday, falling 5-4 in the opener and 3-2 in the nightcap of a Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Division doubleheader in Cedar Rapids.
“We just haven’t been able to put it all together in some of these games,” City High sophomore shortstop Gable Mitchell said. “In some games it’s been little things like bunt coverages or pickoffs where we’ve kind of struggled. It’s one or two runs and we haven’t been able to come through when we need to in the batters box.”
City High got solid outings from starting pitchers Garrett Bormann and Reese Hayden on Monday and for the most part played strong defense behind them.
It was the offensive production that eluded the Little Hawks as City High mustered a combined eight hits against four Prairie pitchers in the doubleheader.
City High had just one hit in the nightcap.
“I thought we pitched pretty well and our defense is typically very good,” City High coach Brian Mitchell said. “We didn’t have any timely hitting I don’t think we had timely hitting, our at bats weren’t terrible they just didn’t work out for us.”
Monday was a bit of a microcosm of the season for the Little Hawks who played well for most of the 14 innings but ultimately walked away wanting more.
City High closes the regular season 9-8 with half of those losses coming by a single run and two more coming by two runs.
“We’ve lost a lot of close games,” Mitchell said. “We lost a walkoff to West, we lost a walkoff to Hempstead and all of those games have been just right there.”
Prairie built a 5-1 lead after five innings in the opener and held off a late City High rally.
The Little Hawks used RBI singles from Carter Seaton and Reese Hayden in the sixth inning to cut the lead to 5-3.
Seaton and Joey Bouska opened the seventh with consecutive singles but Prairie reliever Hunter Williams escaped the jam allowing just one run.
City High took an early lead in the nightcap scoring a run without a hit but settled for just one run after loading the bases with no out.
Prairie regained the lead with two runs in the fourth but City High answered the next inning when Hayden doubled to left field and scored on a wild pitch.
The Hawks scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the inning when Bronx Lewis led off with a triple and scored on a two-out infield single by Nate Keiper.
It was the third consecutive one-run loss for City High which fell to West High 5-4 in the second game of a doubleheader on Friday.
“I’m disappointed in our record for sure,” Brian Mitchell said. “I just think we are a way better team that our record indicates but I really, really like our team. I really like the makeup. We do a lot of things very well. We play great defense every day, we’ve had terrific pitching and at times we’ve hit the ball very well.”
Hayden took the loss, allowing three runs, two earned, on six hits while striking out one and walking one in five innings.
“Reese has been amazing the last two years on mound,” Mitchell said. “He’s got a confidence about him, he knows how to mix pitches and keep hitters off balance and he uses his defense.”
While the regular season has been filled with close calls the good news for the Little Hawks is that has no bearing on the postseason.
City High opens the postseason on Friday when it hosts Cedar Rapids Jefferson (2-14) in a Class 4A, Substate 6 opening round matchup.
The Substate 6 landscape shifted Monday with the announcement that top-seeded and sixth-ranked Southeast Polk would not compete in the postseason after a member of the team tested positive for COVID-19.
Sixth-seeded Cedar Rapids Washington (3-11) will receive an opening round bye with third-seeded West High (5-7) and Linn-Mar (5-7) meeting in the other opening round contest.
City High is the second seed and would earn a bye with an opening round win.
“We are going to have a big week of practice and get our bats going,” Gable Mitchell said. “We have to keep playing the way we are and just fix some of those little things that will make us one of the best teams.”
City High 010 002 1 – 4 7 3
CR Prairie 000 320 x – 5 9 3
W – Luke Hougen L – Garrett Bormann SV – Hunter Williams
2B – CRP: Carson Sirowy (2)
City High 100 010 0 – 2 1 3
CR Prairie 000 210 x – 3 6 1
W – Hunter Williams L – Reese Hayden SV – Ryan Barnes