DEWITT - Hopefully, in the not too distant future, the Anamosa baseball team might be able to point to Friday, July 19, 2019, as the date the Raider program officially turned the corner and are able to regularly compete against the state’s best.
Over much of the last decade, the program has struggled doing exactly that, not to mention wins games on a regular basis.
Well, after Anamosa’s amazing class 3A district semi-final performance at third-ranked Central DeWitt last Friday night, the Raiders may have opened some eyes not only around the River Valley Conference, but around the entire state after giving the talented Sabers all they could handle for seven extremely competitive innings before ending with a hard-fought 8-4 season-ending setback.
There weren’t too many who saw this kind of performance coming, but you could tell from the opening pitch, the Raiders themselves were more than confident that they could pull off the stunner.
And they made that known almost immediately.
Walker Marsh led off the game with a single and two batters later Nolan McLean deposited the baseball over the left-center field fence for a two-run home run that handed Anamosa a quick first inning lead.
Central DeWitt, who entered the game with a 33-3 record, answered in their half of the first scoring a single run before Lucas Bixby drilled a solo home run in the bottom of the second to knot the score at 2-2.
After a pair of Raider errors in the third inning, the hosts plated an unearned run to take a 3-2 lead, and most among the large crowd felt the Sabers were on their way to the expected blowout this game was supposed to be.
It would not happen.
After holding Central DeWitt scoreless in the fourth, the Anamosa offense went back to work in the top of the fifth when Alex Shover and Grahm Humpal reached base with singles and both scored thanks to a clutch two-out triple off the bat of Eli Lehrman.
This time, Central DeWitt fans were starting to get nervous as the Raiders led 4-3.
Unfortunately, the feeling didn’t last.
A pair of huge Anamosa errors led to a five-run Saber bottom of the fifth and the hosts were able to escape with the wild four-run triumph and advance to the district final where they defeated West Delaware 4-3 Monday, July 22.
Seven different Raiders had hits in the contest powering a seven-hit offense.
Central DeWitt pitching did work out of several jams by striking out 16 Anamosa batters while Sam Wilt started on the hill for the visitors and worked the game’s first two innings allowing one unearned run and struck out two.
McLean came into pitch in the third and tossed three frames of six-hit baseball while also striking out two.
Lehrman pitched a scoreless sixth.
The Raiders close the year with a 9-24 record.