DES MOINES — Sioux City East's first state baseball championship will have to wait for another day.
Johnston's offense put relentless pressure on East's pitching staff from top to bottom, and the seventh-rated Dragons won their third title with a 9-3 victory over the unrated Black Raiders in the Class 4-A final on Saturday at Principal Park.
“We played a lot of great baseball down the stretch, so it's just tough to go out with a loss,” East coach Jared Ocker said. “I just wish we could have brought it home for them.”
Third-seeded East settled for its third runner-up finish (1996, 1997) and closed its season at 32-10. Fourth-seeded Johnston (29-12) followed its 1-A championship in 1997 and a 2008 Class 4-A title.
The Dragons chased East ace Davis Camarigg (9-1) in the second inning and batted around twice in the first four innings.
Johnston jumped on top 3-0 in the bottom of the second. Alex McCune and Joe Hawks singled, and McCune was forced on a fielder's choice. Travis Brenner then singled to left, and Hawks was called safe on a close play at the plate.
The runners took second and third, and Ocker replaced Camarigg with Jake Westphal, who struck out Sam Schade for the second out. But on a 3-2 pitch, Nick Stitzell scored on a wild pitch for a 2-0 lead. Michael Kinning's RBI single pushed it to 3-0.
Camarigg pitched six innings in Wednesday's quarterfinal win.
“He didn't look right in the first inning. Davis was going to be on a short leash anyway, on two days rest,” Ocker said. “My plan wasn't to go real deep. I was going to try to chop the game up as much as I could.”
The Dragons broke it open in the fourth, sending 10 men to the plate and scoring five runs on three hits. Two of the runs scored on errors.
That made it 8-0 through four innings, and the Black Raiders were fighting an uphill battle the rest of the way.
East did score one in the fifth as Hayden Godfrey doubled and scored on Jake McDonald's single. And it added two more in the sixth, on back-to-back RBI doubles by Trey Lapke and Godfrey.
But it wasn't enough.
“I'm so proud of my team,” East senior Dom Thompson-Williams said. “It could have gone way worse than this. It could have ended a couple games ago. I'm just happy our team made it this far.”
Sioux City East (32-10) ............................ 000 012 0?—3 9 2
Johnston (29-12) ..................................... 030 510 x—9 11 2
W: Joe Hawks, 8-1. L: Davis Camarigg, 9-1. 2B: SCE, Brandon Carlson, Trey Lapke, Hayden Godfrey 2.