With a steady dose of offense and a pitching performance for the ages, the ADM baseball team made history Wednesday night as the Tigers captured a state tournament berth with a 3-1 win over Harlan.
The state tournament punching win brought forth a whirlwind of historical aspects beginning with the fact that ADM will grace the hallowed grounds of Principal Park as the first state tournament team with a losing record since Davenport North did so back in 2012. Ironically, 2012 was the last time the Tigers made the state tournament. What’s more is that ADM made all of that happen against a storied Iowa high school baseball program in Harlan, who was looking for their tenth state straight state tournament appearance, which would have been one of the best marks in Iowa high school history. Becoming a state tournament team is tough as it is, but for ADM, a team who will enter the state tournament with a record of 13-17, there seems to be so much more behind it all.
“This is a huge thing for the kids, the coaching staff, and the community,” said head coach Jason Book. “This group has proven that it’s less about the wins and losses column and more about getting hot at the right time. When you have the right components in place, you can throw the record aside.”
You don’t have to go far to find a major component in the win that will be sending the Tigers to their fourth state tournament appearance in program history. Right off the bat, the magical performance put forth by ADM senior Logan Crannell. The ace of the ADM pitching staff dazzled what has been a very productive Harlan team to the tune of just one hit and one run through seven innings of play, a far cry from their average of eight runs and eight hits per game. The southpaw sent nine Cyclone batters back to the dugout on strikeout. It certainly wasn’t for lack of trying as six of Crannell’s nine punchouts came on swings and misses.
It marked just the second time all year long that Harlan failed to score more than one run in a game and it had a lot to do with the performance of Crannell.
“Logan was on fire tonight with excellent location of his fastball and really had his breaking ball working to compliment that heater,” said Book following the win. “If ever there was a performance that could highlight the positive effects of hitting your spots as a pitcher, tonight’s performance by Logan would be just that.”
It wasn’t all fun and games early on as Crannell and the Tigers found themselves off to a rather inauspicious start. A walk and a balk initiated what would be the only run of the game for Harlan which came in the very first inning. From there on out, however, Crannell would halt the Cyclone offense to a mere one hit the rest of the game. As for ADM’s offense, it was leadoff man Chase Anderson in the top of the third who connected on his 37th hit of the season to drive in the equalizing run at 1-1. The very next inning, Kaden Sutton’s only hit of the game resulted in his 23rd RBI of the season on a hit to left field. Follow that up with an RBI single by Zach Fuller in the top half of the sixth inning and the Tiger lead cushioned to a 3-1 advantage.
Overall the Tigers produced an eight-hit night complete with multi-hit games from Chase Anderson (2-for-4) and Joe Finnegan (2-for-3) who just so happened to record his fifth double of the season.
The win for the Tigers obviously means a state tournament berth, something rarely before seen from ADM baseball, but it also has meaning far beyond that especially for coach Book who came up around the Harlan area and watched all of the historically great Cyclone teams of old.
“It’s one thing to get a chance to go to the state tournament, it’s another thing to do it by beating one of the greatest teams and greatest coaches the sport has ever known,” began Book. “Making it to Principal Park is a huge thing but when Steve Daeges tells you that you have a great team, you know you’ve done something right.”
With the win to give coach Book his first state tournament appearance as a head coach, he defeated a historic coach who now holds over 700 career wins. The win for coach Book sets him well above the 100 win mark.
While exact pairings haven’t been released yet, the Tiger know their next destination will be Principal Park for the state tournament.