COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa - Third-ranked Iowa Western erupted for five runs over the last two innings to overtake Wabash Valley, 7-4, in the first round of the NJCAA Northern District baseball tournament Friday afternoon.
WVC (44-12), which had an 18-game winning streak snapped, now must battle its way back through the losers bracket of the double-elimination tournament. The Warriors will face Marshalltown, Iowa (22-34) Saturday at 9 a.m. Marshalltown lost to South Suburban, 12-4, in the other first-round game.
Wabash Valley, which was the home team on the scoreboard after winning a coin toss, led 4-2 before the host Reivers scored three runs in the top of the 8th. They lashed WVC starter Phillip Diehl for back-to-back extra-base hits, a double and triple, to open the frame.
Clay Chandler came in from the Warrior bullpen but couldn’t halt the onslaught. Quinn Carpenter, the Iowa Western starter, took himself off the hook for the loss with a sacrifice fly to tie the game, 4-4. Jake Scudder doubled, and eventually came around on a throwing error to give the Reivers the lead for good.
Iowa Western added two insurance runs in the top of the ninth to account for the final.
WVC got something going in the bottom of the ninth when Dale Giesler singled to greet Reivers reliever Braden Young. But, then Angel Alicea’s line drive was snared by third basemen Jordan Schlehuber, who threw across the diamond to first in time to double off Giesler, and suddenly the Warriors were down to their final out with the bases empty. A fly ball by Jarrier Estrada ended the game.
Iowa Western led early, 2-0, before WVC scored single runs in the fourth and fifth to tie the game, 2-2. A ground ball by Tim Barry that glanced off the pitcher’s glove allowed Manuel DeJesus to score the first Warrior run of the game in the fourth. A sacrifice fly by Claudio Rubiera scored Angel Alicea with the tying run in the fifth.
Wabash Valley, ranked 12th in the latest NJCAA poll, took its first lead of the day in the seventh on a 2-run home run from Estrada, scoring Giesler ahead of him.
The Warriors were guilty of three errors.
Diehl went seven innings, allowing 10 hits while striking out four. Chandler, who took the loss, followed with 1.2 innings, while Matt Pletzke worked the ninth.
WVC was outhit, 15-7. Estrada was 2-for-4 for the Warriors.
Iowa Western (49-10), winners of 11 straight, advance Saturday’s noon winners-bracket game against South Suburban (37-19).