Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – The postseason can become a time to expect the unexpected.
West High got the pitching performance it expected from ace Marcus Morgan in its playoff opener and some offensive pop from a somewhat unexpected source in its substate opener against Waterloo West on Friday.
Now the Trojans face an unexpected foe in the Substate semifinals.
Morgan struck out 13 in a complete game two-hitter and sophomore Carter Freidhof smacked a solo home run out of the nine spot in the order as West High advanced with a 3-2 win over Waterloo West (17-20) in a 4A, Substate 3 opener in Iowa City.
“I expect all the guys to step up,” Morgan said. “Coming into games like this I tell them this is going to be big boy baseball and you have to come ready to step up and play. You can’t be afraid of the spotlight or the big games you have to come in and play good baseball if you want to win games.”
The combination of expected and unexpected on Friday sets the Trojans up for a rematch with Cedar Falls (17-20) in the semifinals after the Tigers upset eighth-ranked Urbandale 12-5.
Third-seeded West High (22-14) will host fifth seed Cedar Falls on Monday for a shot at No. 7 Cedar Rapids Prairie in the Substate 3 title game on Wednesday.
“We hope it’s coming together,” West High coach Charlie Stumpff said. “I don’t know what peaking means, I’ve never really know what that meant but you hope guys are hot and feeling good about themselves.”
Things came together nicely for West High on Friday.
Morgan was dominant from the outset, allowing just two hits with both runs coming on a sixth-inning home run by Luke Fordyce.
The senior right-hander retired the final four batters after the two-run homer by Fordyce in the sixth, striking out three of the final four WaHawk hitters.
“I felt good other than that one pitch,” Morgan said. “He put a good swing on it, I definitely hung it and I just had to reset and bear down and finish the game.”
Morgan was sharp early retiring the first six hitters in order, four via strikeout and gave West High a 1-0 lead with an RBI single to right field in the bottom of the third.
Freidhof doubled the West High advantage with one swing leading off the fifth.
“I found one and drove it,” Freidhof said. “It was right down the middle, he was throwing fastballs so I just swung and hit it.”
Making just his third career start, the solo shot to left field was the first career hit for Freidhof who made his first ever varsity start earlier this month against City High.
“I didn’t even think it was going out,” Freidhof said. “It didn’t feel very hard off the bat but I rounded first and I heard everybody cheering. I didn’t think it was real. It was surprising.”
Ian McAreavy made sure West High tacked on what proved to be a big insurance run in the fifth.
McAreavy followed up the Freidhof homer with a single, stole second and third and scored on a throwing error.
McAreavy has been really big moving to the leadoff spot,” Stumpff said. “He was scuffling early and somehow found a little jolt in the front of the line because he hadn’t been running before and now he’s running and feeling good about it.”
Morgan made sure the 3-0 lead stood up.
The senior allowed just two hits, a leadoff single by Clayton Rottinghaus in the third and the two-out, two-run homer to Fordyce in the sixth.
After the same two teams combined to score 54 runs while splitting a regular season doubleheader Morgan and Waterloo West starter Carter Schulte held the offenses in check on Friday.
Schulte struck out six and allowed just three runs on five hits but Morgan was better.
Morgan struck out Mitch Fordyce leading off the seventh and after Schulte popped out to right he got Brady O’Connor swinging at a slider in the dirt to end the game.
“Schulte throws well, he’s a good pitcher. He’s been dinged up a little bit but we had him in the mid 80s starting the game and that’s a really good high school pitcher,” Stumpff said. “The difference between a guy like him and Marcus is Marcus has the breaking ball.”
Waterloo West 000 002 0 – 2 2 2
West High 001 020 x – 3 5 0
W – Marcus Morgan L – Carter Schulte
HR – ICW: Carter Freidhof. WW: Luke Fordyce