Offense falls short, Waukee baseball falls in state tournament opener

Andrew Brown - Sports Reporter
Waukee senior Cooper Crouse with one of five Waukee hits against Urbandale in the Class 4A state quarterfinal round Wednesday, July 29. PHOTO BY ANDREW BROWN/DALLAS COUNTY NEWS

The Waukee High School baseball team kicked off the 2020 Class 4A state baseball tournament Wednesday, July 29 in a top-ten battle with defending champion Urbandale High School.

Unfortunately for the Warriors, while the scoring opportunities were there, the ball just didn’t bounce toward home plat for Waukee as they watched their season come to an end in a 2-0 defeat. Waukee was looking for their first state tournament win since 2017 but instead suffered just their third shutout loss of the season. It also meant that Urbandale has taken the 2020 season series against Waukee 3-2 after both split a pair of doubleheaders earlier in the season.

Strong pitching was ultimately the name of the game as neither offense could find much footing in the contest thanks to two future University of Iowa baseball stars on the hill. It wasn’t a game for those in favor of heavy offense as just five hits combined for the offensive makeup across the entire contest. The frustrating part for the Warriors is that Waukee acquired five of those eight hits and had runners in scoring position in the first four innings of action. Twice the Warriors were staring down a run with a runner on third base. Whether it was a hit or a walk, all six innings saw at least one Waukee baserunner.

The only scoring action for the contest came in the third inning in favor of the J-Hawks who plated the only two runs of the game. Aside from that, home plate was quite empty and without a single run to show for their efforts with ten runners left on base in the contest. Of the four Warrior batters to strike a hit, junior Colin Evers led the way with two hits in three trips to the plate. The remaining three hits were credited to juniors Jacob Barton (25th of the season) and Jackson Wentworth (22nd of the season) along with senior Cooper Crouse (14th of the season).

Just because the offense wasn’t as lively, doesn’t mean there wasn’t excitement to be witnessed. Future Iowa Hawkeye Jackson Payne pitched a game worthy of a win, tossing six innings of three-hit ball. The senior allowed four walks but struck out seven J-Hawk batters along the way.

The unfortunate loss means season over for the Warriors who tie up the 2020 campaign with a 14-13 record. It also marks the second straight year that Urbandale has ended the season for Waukee baseball.

Overall this was Waukee’s tenth state tournament appearance in school history. The conclusion of the season brings the end to the high school playing tenures of 13 players.