Waukee Northwest delivers strong debut, plus more from day two of Iowa high school state baseball

Cody Goodwin Dargan Southard
Des Moines Register

Tuesday brought eight more state quarterfinal baseball games — four in Class 2A, at Merchants Park in Carroll, and four in Class 4A, at Duane Banks Field in Iowa City.

Here's a rundown of what happened:

No. 6 Dowling Catholic 8, No. 3 Cedar Rapids Prairie 2

Like just about every other sport, the Maroons enter baseball season with lofty expectations. Safe bet they’ll be at the state tournament ready to make some noise no matter how the regular season unfolded. 

Dowling showcased that again Tuesday, toppling the third-seeded Prairie Hawks in a rematch of last year’s thrilling state quarterfinal. The Maroons may have entered with the second-most losses among Class 4A qualifiers, but that hardly mattered on this dominant evening.

Evan Curran took center stage with 5 1/3 scoreless innings of relief, shutting down the Prairie lineup after some early fireworks. Six combined runs were scored in the first two innings — Dowling exiting with a 4-2 lead — before the Maroons tacked on insurance in the fourth, fifth and seventh. 

Late homers from Cooper Nicholson and Beau Gamble punctuated this strong showing. 

No. 5 Waukee Northwest 7, No. 4 Waukee 2 

Tuesday’s state baseball debut could not have unfolded any better for Waukee Northwest.

Not only did the Wolves cruise into Thursday’s semifinals with a dominant win, they did it at the hands of newly formed rival Waukee. Waukee Northwestxk put up two runs each in the second and third to find separation, then dumped three more runs on the Warriors in the sixth.  

Waukee Northwest bested its in-town rival Waukee on Tuesday in the Class 4A quarterfinals at Duane Banks Field in Iowa City.

Ben Burkle and Jadon Engstrom both had multi-hit games, while shortstop Devin Doyle drove in a pair. That was more than enough support for Creighton signee Anthony Watts, who yielded five hits and two runs with three walks and 10 strikeouts over 6 ⅓ solid innings. Waukee didn’t break through until putting two up in the sixth, but it was much too late to alter this result.

Waukee Northwest will get top-seeded Johnston at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, with a spot in the Class 4A title game at stake.

More:Top-seeded Assumption, Remsen both roll on day one of the Iowa high school baseball tournament

No. 1 Johnston 6, No. 8 Iowa City Liberty 3

The top-ranked Dragons were too much for the hometown team in the first Class 4A state quarterfinal game at Duane Banks Field in Iowa City. 

Johnston, now 34-4 this season, spoiled Liberty's state tournament debut thanks largely to a three-run fourth inning. Back-to-back-to-back RBIs from Tyne Weeden, Cade Godwin, and Jack Emanuel turned a 2-2 tie into a 5-2 Dragon lead.

Liberty, whose season ends 21-20 overall, tied the game at 1-1 in the second and 2-2 in the third before the Dragons broke it open. The Lightning loaded the bases in the seventh, but scored just one run. Johnston's three-man pitching staff of Carter Wollums, Pierce Anderson, and Sam Hesselman allowed just five hits.

Remaining Class 4A quarterfinal games

  • 7:30PM – #2 Iowa City High (31-8) vs. #7 Indianola (26-12)

More:Here are the top prospects at the 2022 Iowa high school state baseball tournament

No. 1 Van Meter 5, No. 8 Kuemper Catholic 3

Van Meter kept its quest for a perfect season and a fourth consecutive state championship alive with a 5-3 win over Kuemper Catholic in Tuesday’s final Class 2A state quarterfinal game at Merchants Park in Carroll. 

The Bulldogs, now 37-0 this summer, used a 4-run third-inning to turn a 2-0 Kuemper lead — thanks to Benicio Lujano’s 2-run homer in the third inning — into a spot in Thursday’s state semifinals against fourth-seeded Beckman Catholic. Kuemper ends the summer 20-17. 

Dalton Van Pelt tripled home Austin Baumhover, who reached on a walk then went to third on a throwing error. Casey Trudo brought Van Pelt home on a groundout to tie the game at 2-2. Jack Pettit then tripled to center and Carter Durflinger sent him home on a sac-fly to right. Reese Moore then walked and scored on Gabon Archer’s triple, making it 4-2, Van Meter. 

Archer added an RBI single to left in the fifth inning for an insurance run, finishing 2-for-3 with 2 RBI.  He also started the game on the mound, but left after surrendering four hits and a homer to Lujano over 2.2 innings. Carter Schreck came on and allowed four hits over four innings, and Moore recorded the final out in the seventh after Kuemper scored to come within 5-3.

No. 4 Beckman Catholic 7, No. 5 Dike-New Hartford 4

Beckman Catholic never trailed throughout Tuesday's third Class 2A quarterfinal, but pulled away from two separate ties to beat Dike-New Hartford, 7-4.

Dike-New Hartford rallied to tie the game at 1-1 in the middle of the second inning and 3-3 in the middle of the fourth, on Gus Varney's 2-run double, but timely offense from the Blazers led to four runs across the fourth and fifth innings, which was enough to end the Wolverines' season at 26-4.

Beckman took a 5-3 lead in the fourth inning thanks to RBI singles from Luke Sigwarth and Nick Schmidt. That lead became 7-3 in the fifth when Owen Huehnergarth and Nate Offerman both singled in runs. The Blazers, now 25-13, totaled 13 hits for the game.

The Wolverines countered with 11 hits, but left 10 runners stranded throughout the game. They put runners on first and second in the fifth and scratched a single run across in the sixth, but a third rally was not in the cards.

No. 6 Mid-Prairie 3, No. 3 Cascade 2

Some early offense and a pitching gem from Collin Miller led to sixth-seeded Mid-Prairie upsetting third-seeded Cascade, 3-2, in the second Class 2A state quarterfinal.

Miller's 10 strikeouts over six innings kept the Cascade bats quiet enough while the Golden Hawks manufactured just enough offense to improve to 19-10 overall and advance to Thursday's semifinal against No. 2 Estherville Lincoln Central.

Mid-Prairie scored two runs in the second inning after Tyler Helmuth's leadoff triple and Dylan Henry's infield single. A sacrifice bunt from Brock Harland brought Helmuth home, and a single from Miller plated Henry. The Golden Hawks scored again in the third on Alex Bean's RBI single for a 3-0 lead.

That was enough to take down Cascade, whose season ends 20-6 overall. The Cougars scored twice in the sixth, on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly, but managed just six hits total and stranded seven total baserunners on the afternoon.

More:Predictions and 8 storylines to follow at the 2022 Iowa high school state baseball tournaments

No. 2 Estherville Lincoln Central 5, No. 7 Interstate 35 1

Three runs over the first two innings ultimately led to a 5-1 victory for second-seeded Estherville Lincoln Central in the first Class 2A state quarterfinal on Tuesday.

The Midgets, now 32-2 overall, scored two runs in the first when Ryan Schiltz stole home and Blake Ingvall scored on Blake Evans' single to short. They added another in the third on Owen Larson's RBI single to right for a 3-0 lead.

Interstate 35 got one run back in the third, but mustered just five hits all game. Larson threw all seven innings for Estherville Lincoln, striking out 10 and walking just one.

Estherville Lincoln Central advances to Thursday's semifinal round. The Roadrunners' season ends at 24-7.

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.