Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – Grant Jensen made it crystal clear in the moments following Tuesday’s Class 3A state quarterfinal that he and his Clear Creek Amana teammates came to Principal Park in Des Moines to win a baseball game.
Truthfully, Jensen said, the goal was to win three straight games and a state title in the Clippers’ first ever state tournament appearance.
Even though Clear Creek Amana didn’t met that goal falling to Norwalk 4-3 in its state debut Jensen refused to leave Des Moines disappointed with what the Clippers had accomplished this season.
“I couldn’t be happier, that’s the best baseball I’ve played in my entire life and I couldn’t be happier for my boys,” Jensen said. “That was the funniest season I’ve ever had.”
In a season many feared would never get started due to concerns over the global coronavirus pandemic Clear Creek Amana (16-6) produced one of the most successful stints in program history.
Clear Creek Amana finished more than four games over .500 for the first time in better than a decade and upset top-ranked Davenport Assumption in the substate final to reach the state tournament for the first time in history.
“Being the first team in school history to make it to the state tournament for baseball that’s huge,” Clear Creek Amana junior TJ Bollers said. “I wouldn’t trade this season for any other season I’ve ever had. It’s hard to go out this way especially being on this big stage but it was a season to remember.”
On Tuesday Clear Creek Amana came up just shy in an attempt to extend its memorable season for a few more days.
Norwalk (18-5) took advantage of four Clipper errors and four walks while advancing to the 3A semifinals on Friday against the winner of the second quarterfinal between top-seeded Sergeant Bluff-Luton (20-3) and Marion (10-10).
Clear Creek Amana loaded the bases with one out in the seventh inning but Norwalk reliever Drew Leek got Tyler Schrepfer to pop to short to end the game.
“Everyone sees that seventh inning as a make or break but to me that game was won in the middle innings,” Clear Creek Amana coach Nick Zumsande said. “Their guy settled down a little bit and pitched a real good game, they had some pretty good relief efforts. I thought Brock (Reade) settled in, we made too many defensive miscues. For me that’s where we got beat in this game today that and not picking runners up when we had opportunities.”
Clear Creek Amana took an early lead when Bollers plated Jensen with a two-out, line drive RBI double to left field in the top of the first inning.
Norwalk answered with a pair of runs in the second on a towering RBI triple to left field by Cael Eck and a squeeze bunt by Ryan Wood.
Clear Creek Amana tied the game at 2-2 in the fourth scoring a run without a hit.
Tyler Schrepfer was hit by a pitch with one out before back-to-back walks to Cade Armstrong and Stirlen Roberson loaded the bases and Brock Reade drew a bases loaded walk to force in a run.
The Warriors answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning using a pair of walks, a throwing error a single by Tyler Wegner and a wild pitch to take a 4-2 lead.
“They gave us a couple of things there in the fifth and tried to over do some things and we took advantage of them,” Norwalk coach Chad Wiedmann said. “That ended up being the difference right there.”
Tucker Christensen (8-1) picked up the win for Norwalk allowing two runs on three hits while striking out three and walking four in five innings.
Evan Borst pitched a scoreless sixth and Leek escaped a bases loaded one-out jam in the seventh to earn the save.
“Our kids, for the last three weeks or so they have just found ways to get it done,” Wiedmann said. “They don’t get too flustered, we have a lot of seniors, all of our infielders are returning starters from last year so they are comfortable and they know what they can do and in situations like today they get it done for us.”
Reade (4-1) allowed four unearned runs on five hits while striking out five and walking four in six innings.
“When I was on time and focused my pitches were hitting their spots and when I got off time I couldn’t find the strike zone,” Reade said. “I felt like I stayed consistent throughout I just had a little moments of struggling.”
Jensen had a hit and scored a run while Bollers had a double and an RBI to lead Clear Creek Amana.
Senior Casey Ogden had a hit and drove in a run and Ben Swails added a single in the seventh inning.
“I hope this paves a new path for our program,” Jensen said. “I hope that not just for baseball but for the rest of our sports teams and academics and everything in our school we step up our game and know that we are good enough to hang with the big boys.”
Clear Creek Amana 100 100 1 – 3 4 4
Norwalk 020 200 x – 4 5 1
W – Tucker Christensen L – Brock Reade SV – Drew Leek
2B – CCA: TJ Bollers. NOR: Jake Fees
3B – NOR: Cael Eck