State baseball: Ankeny wins Class 4-A championship

State baseball: Ankeny wins Class 4-A championship

Video

State baseball: Ankeny wins Class 4-A championship


Throughout the season, members of the Ankeny baseball team have heard about — and even from — the most successful squad in school history.
On Saturday night, this season’s team created a legacy of its own.
The top-ranked Hawks won the school’s second state baseball title with a 10-0 win over No.4 Fort Dodge in the Class4-A final at Principal Park.
The game ended by mercy rule in the sixth inning.
The victory marked the first state baseball title for the school since 1992.
Ankeny (43-2) won its school-record 28th consecutive game, which passed the mark of 19 set by the 1993 team.
It was the 1992 team that most fans remember. That squad, which included future Major League Baseball players Benj Sampson and Todd Sears, rolled through the season before eventually winning the school’s first crown.
It’s a team that current players are very familiar with, even drawing a few comparisons. During the season, Sampson visited with the team and spoke of his success.
During Saturday’s title game, Sears was honored.
Later, so was this season’s team, which finished with 43 victories, the most for the state’s largest class since a four-class system started in 1982. Dowling Catholic’s 2001 state championship team finished with 42 wins.
“It was actually pretty exciting because I’ve been following this team for quite awhile. It’s such a special team,” Sears said. “It was just a pretty cool thing to watch.”
Ankeny players celebrated the championship by storming the field.
Win No. 43 was rarely in doubt as Ankeny took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Keaton McKinney brought in the first when he blasted an RBI double off the left-field wall. Ross Larson added the second when he reached on a fielder’s choice.
The Hawks then struck for six runs in the sixth inning to put it out of reach.
McKinney finished 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs. Tanner Buenting went 4-for-5. He and teammate Garrett Fort became the 12th and 13th players in state history to get four hits in a title game.
“I was just seeing that ball well,” Buenting said. “We just wanted it. We’ve been working extremely hard out there.”
Hawks starter Matt Johnson baffled Fort Dodge hitters by striking out three in the complete-game win. The right-hander improved to 7-1.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” Johnson said. “I can’t believe we actually did it. I think after 20 years, it’s definitely the day to do it. We definitely deserve it.”
Fort Dodge, which defeated defending state champion and No.6 Dowling Catholic on a hit in the seventh inning of the quarterfinals, survived a late scare by No.2 Cedar Rapids Kennedy in the semifinals.
The Dodgers’ (36-8) magic finally came to an end in the finals as Ankeny’s offense exploded for 19 hits, a championship game record.
“Ankeny is a very good team … we ran into a buzzsaw tonight,” Fort Dodge coach Matt Elsbecker said. “Johnson was excellent and those guys can swing it a little bit. That’s why they are the state champs and we are the runner-ups. Tonight they were a better team than us.”
Ankeny became the sixth school in state history to win a title in softball and baseball during the same year. Earlier in the day, No.3 Martensdale-St. Marys became the fifth with a state championship in Class 1-A.
“I think they’re going to remember us just because it’s our second state title for baseball,” Johnson said.
Fort Dodge 000 000–0 2 0
Ankeny 210 106–10 19 1
Leading Hitters – A: Buenting 4×5, Fort 4×5, Lanning 2×3, McKinney 2×4, Olson 2×4, Jones 2×4, Norris 2×4 WP – Johnson LP – Vaughn

Latest

More USA TODAY High School Sports
Home
https://usatodayhss.com/2012/state-baseball-ankeny-wins-class-4-a-championship
State baseball: Ankeny wins Class 4-A championship
I found this story on USA TODAY High School Sports and wanted to share it with you: %link% For more high school stories, stats and videos, visit http://usatodayhss.com.