On a perfect day for baseball, the ADM High School baseball team kicked off the Class 3A state tournament with an opening-round match-up against Cedar Rapids Xavier.
The Tigers came in as the tournament eight seed while the Saints entered as the tournament number one seed, although for the vast majority of the game one couldn’t tell the difference. The Tigers may have ended their state-run by falling 7-2, but for five innings it was a defensive battle where no one held an advantage.
Through the back-and-forth contest, the Tigers totaled seven hits and stayed pretty effective on the base paths leaving just four runners stranded across the entire game. Five Tiger batters recorded at least one hit, highlighted by two-hit performances by seniors Joe Finnegan and Spencer Collins. As for the 2019 season, it marked the 11th multi-hit game for Finnegan and seventh multi-hit contest for Collins.
Both Collins and Finnegan captured their first hits in a big third inning for the Tigers. Collins initiated the offense for ADM with the team’s first hit of the game on a double to right field. Jaxson Millsap followed with a walk and a few batters later, Collins crossed the plate on a Xavier error which evened up the game at 1-1. The momentum kept the Tiger offense going and once sophomore Tate Stine-Smith stepped up to the plate, he drove a single up the middle to give ADM the lead and a roaring crowd with a 2-1 advantage. That same crowd was a big momentum help for the Tigers and after the game Stine-Smith acknowledged it.
“Our fans have been great all season long and today it made it feel as though it was a home game for us,” said Stine-Smith. “That means the world for us as a team.”
While the Tiger offense was catching fire through four innings, so too did senior hurler Logan Crannell on the mound. The southpaw dished out six of his eight strikeouts through the first four innings of play, allowing just two hits.
“Logan pitched a great game today,” said head coach Jason Book. “In similar fashion to the rest of the season, the offense didn’t quite match what he was able to do on the mound and it’s a shame because he’s been so strong this season. He was spot on hitting his spots today and I couldn’t have asked more out of him.”
It was an overall strong performance that would earn a win in any other scenario and one that was carefully crafted by Crannell himself.
“My goal was to get out of the gates fast and to not let them get comfortable and I feel I did that,” began Crannell. “Aside from the nerves, in the beginning, I felt I located my fastball really well and from then on it was just like another game.”
The Tigers held that 2-1 for just half an inning as Xavier equalized the game at 2-2 in the bottom half of the third. From there, the Tiger offense did manage four more hits past the fourth inning bust couldn’t quite convert those hits into runs. Then came the bottom of the sixth inning where a few ADM errors and an explosion of offense by Xavier suddenly put the Tigers in a 7-2 hole heading into the seventh inning. ADM captured two more hits in the top of the seventh courtesy of Kaden Sutton and Spencer Collins, but a double play off the bat of Seth Williamson halted that momentum which eventually led to the 7-2 loss.
While the game may have ended in a loss, thus ending ADM’s 2019 season, it marked something that can never be taken away from this group of players.
“We may have been judged a lot this season but this team has proven that when it comes to the postseason, records mean nothing and it’s all about how you perform when it counts the most,” said Book. “This team has always had the capability of making it to state and I’m just so glad they were able to show the rest of the state that by getting here today.”
Make no mistake, the Tigers made history that will forever be etched across the halls of ADM High School. Coach Book later went on to talk about the huge impact of the seniors that made the season what it was.
“This senior group has brought a lot of passion back into baseball here at ADM,” said Book. “They really re-energized this team and kept the fun aspect of the game alive at all times.”
ADM will end their season with a 13-18 record.