Heartbreak Finish

Mid-Prairie's dream season ends in loss at West Lyon

By Paul D. Bowker
Posted 7/30/20

The wait had been so long for the Mid-Prairie High School baseball team.

Thirteen years, exactly.

So what’s another two hours?

The Golden Hawks began their first state tournament more …

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Heartbreak Finish

Mid-Prairie's dream season ends in loss at West Lyon

Posted

The wait had been so long for the Mid-Prairie High School baseball team.

Thirteen years, exactly.

So what’s another two hours?

The Golden Hawks began their first state tournament more than two hours late Monday because wet grounds from storms the night before backed up play in the Class 2A quarterfinals on Monday at Principal Park in Des Moines. Trouble was, the nightmarish second inning seemed to last longer than that.

West Lyon scored five runs in that inning against two Mid-Prairie pitchers and things only got worse after that as the Golden Hawks fell, 13-3, ending a season that produced conference, district and substate championships.

Afterward, senior captain Brad Tornow stood on the right field concourse at Principal Park and thought back on a season that included 15 wins and an eight-game winning streak.

“We had a great year,” Tornow said. “A lot of us came together and we were a huge team throughout the season. Someone’s down, someone was picking them up. We just had a fun time together. We’re excited we ended at state, maybe not the way we wanted to end it, but we ended at state.”

Just twenty-four hours earlier, the Golden Hawks celebrated their season in a send-off rally at Mid-Prairie High School. Parents and fans lined Highway 22 as two baseball buses left for Des Moines with an escort that included trucks from the Kalona and Wellman Fire Departments.

“It’s a great experience to be here,” said head coach Andy Greiner, who was an assistant coach for Mid-Prairie’s state championship in 2004. “None of these kids have had that experience. I really think this will propel us as a program to compete at higher levels and give us a chance to get back here.”

Mid-Prairie earned a trip to the state tournament by defeating Central Lee 7-5 in a dramatic substate final on July 22 in Mediapolis.

The victory against Central Lee was the eighth straight win for the Golden Hawks and provided the momentum for them to ride into the 2A quarterfinals in Des Moines.

Mid-Prairie fans flooded the parking lot outside Principal Park as the first game of the day between Van Meter and Treynor, which had started two hours late itself, went into extra innings.

Even after the Golden Hawks fell behind 5-0 once the game did begin. A fan shouted: “You’ve got a lot of innings! Lotta innings!”

“I felt like, gosh, it wasn’t out of our grasp yet,” Greiner said. “We just had a heck of a time getting going.”

The Wildcats never took their feet off the gas.

They scored another four runs in the third inning. While a combination of walks, wild pitches and hit batters got the Golden Hawks in trouble, a bases-loaded double by West Lyon’s Josh Van Beek in the third inning made the score 8-0. It seemed to be the crowning blow. The Wildcats added another run in the third as Greiner went to his third pitcher, freshman Collin Miller, who is usually the late inning closer.

“I felt like it kind of snowballed on us a little bit,” Greiner said.

Trailing 11-0, Mid-Prairie scored three times in the fourth inning to keep the Hawks alive. Aiden Rath, a junior first baseman who ranks No. 6 in the state in hitting, began the rally with a walk and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Monte Slabaugh. Two more runs scored on a double by Will Cavanagh.

Miller helped slow down the Wildcats as West Lyon scored just single runs in the fifth and sixth innings.

“I’m just really proud of the way he handles himself both on and off the field,” Greiner said.

The game ended after the sixth inning because of the 10-run mercy rule. And just like that, the Golden Hawks were finished.

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