Patience key as Trojans top PV 6-3

West moves on to state semifinals behind 11 strikeouts from Marcus Morgan ‘21 and three RBIs from Jason Strunk ‘19.

West players celebrate after an inning in the field against Pleasant Valley.

Joe Goodman, Sports Editor

Baseball fans are used to waiting. 

Wednesday night’s quarterfinal game between West High and the Pleasant Valley Spartans provided no shortage of anticipation before and after the first pitch.

The Trojan faithful filed into Principal Park at 10:00 on Wednesday night after a three-hour rain delay earlier in the day to watch a quarterfinal matchup for the ages.

In a Trojan War rematch, the Trojans got their revenge on the city of Sparta as they outlasted Pleasant Valley 6-3 in a game which spanned two and a half hours and ended early Thursday morning.

The biggest key for West High offensively was patience at the plate. The Trojans used eight walks and a myriad of RBI groundouts and fly outs to manufacture six runs on only five hits. 

Marcus Morgan ‘21 was anything but mundane on the mound, earning the win while striking out 11 batters in 5 ⅔ innings.

Morgan struggled early as the Spartans scored a run on three hits in the first, subdued by two heads-up plays from Nick Fleckenstein ‘19 at shortstop. 

Morgan settled in to strike out the side in the second.

Facing loaded bases and no outs in the third Morgan dug deep to fan three straight batters, using a variety of looping curves and blazing fastballs to confuse the Spartan hitters.

Nick Biancuzzo ‘19 started two rallies for the Trojans with a single in the first and a walk in the third. Jason Strunk ‘19 drove him home both times with hard-hit balls into the infield.

Ben Madden ‘20 began the bottom of the fourth with a 10-pitch at-bat, walking before advancing to second on a sac bunt. After a single by Fleckenstein and an RBI sac fly from Biancuzzo the Trojans lead 4-1.

Morgan was relieved by Ryan Cooper ‘19 in the sixth, who walked batters around to load the bases with two outs. With the Spartans striking, Owen McAreavy ‘19 saved the Trojans with a snag on a line drive to first base to end the inning.

Strunk added an insurance run in the sixth with a blooping RBI double into short right field, the Trojans only extra base hit of the night.

Cooper polished off the Spartans in the top of the seventh, striking out the last batter to put an end to this year’s longest game of the tournament. Exhausted Trojans celebrated their win with jerseys caked in dirt in a barren Principal Park.

Morgan reached his pitch limit and is not available for the rest of the tournament, which is understandable considering his outing started in July and ended in August.

The Trojans are scheduled to face Urbandale on Friday, August 2nd at 4:30 at Principal Park in Des Moines.