Southeast Polk’s Nick Arnold calmly threw a five-hit shutout then trotted through a line of happy fist bumping teammates.
A stunning 1-0 upset of third-ranked Cedar Rapids Kennedy in a Class 4-A state baseball quarterfinal Wednesday — the school’s first win in the summer tournament — left the senior reacting the way he pitched.
Calm and confident.
“We’re excited, but we’re not done yet,” Arnold said.
The only run of the game came at the start. Anthony Schneider singled, then took third on an errant pickoff attempt. Cody Hyler grounded out and Schneider scored.
“We wanted to get out fast,” Hyler said. “Getting that run was a huge boost for us.”
Southeast Polk had played in two previous state summer tournaments — 2008 and 2011. Both ended in quarterfinal losses.
The Rams weathered threats from a Kennedy team that entered at 31-6. Runners reached third base in the fourth and fifth innings but Arnold’s arm and a defense that played error-free ball held tight.
Kennedy loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth inning on singles by Derek Jacobus, Zach Daniels and an intentional walk to Ben Sass with one out. The Rams used a slick 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
“We don’t make that play, it’s a tied ball game,” Hyler said.
Southeast Polk (30-13) will face another powerful foe in Friday’s 8 p.m. semifinal. Dubuque Hempstead (37-5) is ranked No. 2.
Arnold, who said he played under pressure as members of state basketball tournament and state football playoff teams, said the Rams are ready for more.
“We hit the ball, we throw the ball, we catch the ball,” Arnold said. “That’s how you win baseball games.”