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Waukee baseball splits Urbandale and Johnston doubleheaders

Andrew Brown - Sports Reporter
Colin Evers warming up in the batters box against Marshalltown earlier this season. PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVE MARTINEZ

The challenge has certainly been there for the Waukee High School baseball team this week. The Warriors began the week up against reigning Class 4A champion Urbandale and moved on to fellow Class 4A title game participant Johnston High School.

Both matchups ended in a doubleheader split for the Warriors. Waukee kicked things off with an extra-inning 3-2 victory in game one and then met heavy offense in game two, falling 11-7. Thirteen hits made up the Urbandale doubleheader for the Warriors and six of those hits came in the nine-inning game one marathon. Game one was actually a defensive and pitching battle between two future University of Iowa baseball stars in Urbandale’s Ty Langenberg and Waukee’s Jackson Payne. Both pitchers battled and at the end of seven full innings, neither team had found a way to cross the plate. The bulk of the offense for both teams came in the eighth inning as both the Warriors and the J-Hawks produced two runs. That still didn’t decide a victor and in the ninth inning, it was Waukee to finally pull ahead with one run in the ninth inning that was not answered by Urbandale. Payne ended up dishing out a seson-high 16 strikeouts and allowing just one hit through seven innings.

Game two was the exact opposite of game one with 18 combined runs and 17 combined hits. Right from the get-go, it was Urbandale who showed off their offense, putting Waukee in a 6-0 deficit following the first inning. They added three more runs in the second inning and before fans could blink, Waukee was in a 9-0 hole. Slowly throughout the rest of the contest Waukee chipped away at Urbandale’s lead with one run in the third and fourth innings, a three-run sixth inning and a two-run seventh inning. Junior Aiden McGee led the way offensively in game two with two hits, the only Warrior batter to do so. Ultimately there were only two RBI’s accounted for with Cooper Crouse and Parker Hirsch. On the mound, the Warriors ended up employing a three-pitcher crew. Camden Kaufman went the longest with four innings of work, striking out four and walking just three with three hits allowed. The loss overall for the Warriors marked their second loss of the 2020 campaign.

On Wednesday, June 24, the Warriors came back home for a doubleheader battle with Johnston in two lopsided affairs. Waukee produced ten hits in the 12-3 game one win over the Dragons but delivered on just two hits in the 18-0 game two loss.

Game one was quite the scoring frenzy as Waukee scored in all but two innings. The only deficit the Warriors faced in game one came in the top of the first when Johnston pushed one run across home plate. From there it was all Waukee as the Warriors put up four runs in the bottom half of the first for a 4-1 early lead. Thanks to a three-run second inning, a two-run third inning, and a two-run fourth inning, that small early lead blossomed into an 11-2 advantage entering the fifth inning. Both the Warriors and the Dragons added in one run each across the final three innings of play before Waukee ended things off with a 12-3 win. Jalen Martinez had a strong outing striking two hits in four trips to the plate, including his second home run of the season. Martinez drove in three runs in the contest and now leads the Warriors with 11 total runs driven in. Jackson Wentworth went five strong innings on the mound, striking out eight batters while walking two and allowing just one hit.

Game two was quite a different story for the Warriors. In an almost mirrored version of game one, Waukee found themselves down early 4-0 following the first inning. That doubled to an 8-0 deficit following four innings of play. The big blow for Waukee came in the fifth inning where Johnston produced a season-high ten single inning runs, forcing Waukee to end the game early for the first time in several years. Offensively for the Warriors, Alex Walsh was the only batter to strike a hit wracking up two doubles. Waukee used four pitchers in the contest, with Jacob Barton issuing the most strikeouts with three while Matthew Jongerius and Colin Evers producing a pair of strikeouts each.

Overall, the Warriors will enter their Friday contest with a mark of 7-3. Next up on the docket for Waukee will be a road matchup against Ankeny on Friday, May 26 with game one of the doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m.