Baseball tops No. 1 Centennial, earns first state berth since 1995Posted July 19, 2023
The Ames baseball team pulled off one of the biggest wins in program history by taking down No. 1-ranked Ankeny Centennial in a substate final, earning the program’s first state tournament bid since 1995.
The Little Cyclones fell into a 1-0 hole in the third inning and for awhile, that looked like it could hold to be a winning score. Ankeny Centennial ace Joey Oakie held the Little Cyclones to a no-hitter through five innings.
However, thanks to Ames’ own ace Carter Geffre and a solid defensive performance from the rest of the team, the Little Cyclones held eight Jaguar batters stranded on base in the contest.
When the top of the Ames order got their third crack at Oakie in the top of the sixth, the Little Cyclones were able to break open the game. With no outs, Austin Gabrielson doubled to left field to advance another runner to third. The next two batters; Braydon Beelner and Joshua Motl brought home a run and Graff Linder recorded a sacrifice fly to give the Little Cyclones the lead on the top-ranked squad.
The Jaguars threatened in a big way in the bottom of the sixth – bases loaded with two outs – but a fly out to center field ended the opportunity for Ankeny Centennial.
In the top of the seventh and final inning, Gabrielson recorded his second double of the day to bring home a pair of Little Cyclones.
READ MORE (Ames Tribune): Ames baseball upsets No. 1 Ankeny Centennial to qualify for state for the first time since 1995
With a four-run advantage heading into the bottom of the seventh, Geffre retired all three batters faced and a pop fly to left ended the Jaguars’ season and recorded the 29th victory of the season for the Little Cyclones – the second-best mark in program history.
“I don’t even know what to say,” Ames head coach Nick Steenhagen told the Ames Tribune. “It’s the best feeling in the world. This thing has been growing and these guys got it done. I’m out of words.”
The Little Cyclones advance to face No. 2 Iowa City High at Duane Banks Stadium (University of Iowa) in Iowa City. First pitch is set for Tuesday, July 18 at 7:30 PM. Tickets are available for $10 at iahsaa.org/tickets.