Sports

Quarterfinal delay disrupts plans

The Mid-Prairie baseball team had to start warming up and stretching outside Des Moines’ Principal Park Monday before its state quarterfinal game because of a delay in preparing the field and coronavirus rules that prevented entering the stadium until the previous teams’ game was over and the teams had exited the stadium. (Doug Brenneman/Union)
The Mid-Prairie baseball team had to start warming up and stretching outside Des Moines’ Principal Park Monday before its state quarterfinal game because of a delay in preparing the field and coronavirus rules that prevented entering the stadium until the previous teams’ game was over and the teams had exited the stadium. (Doug Brenneman/Union)
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DES MOINES — Fans from small towns rejoice when their team qualifies for the state tournament.

Sometimes an added benefit is a trip to the state capital with plans to take in some of the big city’s offerings.

Those plans were disrupted for the Class 2A baseball teams traveling to Des Moines.

Apparently rain can affect a professional baseball field more than a high school one.

Monday’s start of the quarterfinal round of the Iowa High School Athletic Association’s Class 2A baseball games was delayed so that the field could be drained from the overnight rain in the area.

The first game of the quarterfinal round was to begin at 10:30 a.m. between Van Meter and Treynor. The IHSAA issued a statement that the game would not begin until noon. Each following game could not begin until 45 minutes after the previous game ended.

Crews working on the field had to account for less than an inch of rain that fell overnight. The weather had cleared by 10 a.m.

The IHSAA then issued another statement that the first quarterfinal game could not begin until 12:30 p.m.

When the game finally got underway, it lasted eight innings and Van Meter won by combining on a no-hitter. the winning run reached base on the only error of the game by Treynor.

Because of the coronavirus, the stadium is emptied of all fans after each game and crews clean. So anyone arriving at the scheduled time for a game was not allowed inside.

The extended wait may have played on the nerves of the Golden Hawks, but not the West Lyon Wildcats.

“Our kids have been in a lot of big games, winning a title in the UNI-Dome, running on the blue oval, playing in substate in basketball,” West Lyon head coach Koury Kramer said. “I knew when we finally got in the locker room, we were ready to go.”

Mid-Prairie head coach Andy Greiner had a specific routine and itinerary planned and that was upset by the delay.

“It’s hard to imagine that nerves did not play a small part in (the 13-3 loss to West Lyon in six innings),” Greiner said. “We tried to stay with our routine as much as possible. With that, we prepared well, but clearly we were not ready to go.”

Mid-Prairie first baseman Aidan Rath was ready to go with his first at bat he hit a shot to the warning track, that was somehow caught by West Lyon.

However the wet field came into play when Rath fielded a bunt in the second inning, then slipped in an attempt to tag the runner. Consummate athlete that he is, he would not blame the field.

“I just slipped,” he said. “It wasn’t because of the field.”

It was that field that caused a disruption in Greiner’s carefully planned itinerary. He was still happy for the success of the program in getting to play at the state tournament.

“This is a great experience to be here,” Greiner said. “None of these kids of ever had that experience. I think this should propel us and the program to compete at higher levels so that we can get back here.”

The Golden Hawks last appeared in a state game in 2007 which capped four appearances in six years that included a state title in 2004, but this should give the returning palyers a taste of what they want to achieve.