Players on the Alta Cyclones baseball team will have the opportunity to bring home a piece of history with them on the bus ride from Granville tonight, as they will play Granville Spalding for the right to advance to their first-ever state tournament berth.
Alta (23-9) has rattled off wins against River Valley, Aurelia, and Kingsley-Pierson to earn a trip to the substate contest, which will be played tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Spalding. The baseball field in Spalding is located on the west side of town on Highway 10.
To achieve their dream of reaching state, the Cyclones will have to first get past a Spalding Granville team that won state titles in 2000 and 2001 and has a 26-9 record this season. The Spartans are currently ranked eighth in Class 1A by the Iowa Baseball Coaches Association.
Alta will counter with an offensive machine that has scored 37 runs in the past four games, including 25 in the first two contests against River Valley and Aurelia. The Cyclones will also feature a pitching staff that has only allowed 11 runs to cross the plate in the postseason.
Alta 7, Kingsley-Pierson 3
Alta broke open a tight battle against a Kingsley-Pierson team which reached the state tournament last year with four runs in the top of the third inning on Monday night, giving the Cyclones a lead which they would not relinquish.
Jamie Hammer led Alta with three hits and two stolen bases, and Dru Leyden, Brad Payne and Eric Holton each contributed two hits in the victory. Payne and Holton also had one RBI and one double.
Steve Hamer pitched the first 6 1/3 innings for Alta, allowing two earned runs on six hits and striking out six. Leyden came in to retire the final two K-P batters via the strikeout.
"I was really proud of our kids tonight," Alta head coach Jerry Braunschweig said. "They came pumped and ready to play, and did a great job of playing the game we outlined. We played within ourselves and made it a total team effort."