There was every reason to have doubts before the match.
Just over two weeks earlier, these two teams had met in Ogden, where the Ogden Bulldogs were able to claim victory. Since then, the two teams had made their way through the district tournament and were ready to meet again.
This time things would turn out a bit differently, but the end result was the same in that the home side were able to win.
Helping the Crusaders win their 7-2 revenge against Ogden was the heroism of the third inning for senior Josh Ramirez, who was able to help secure the ultimate victory.
As everyone had thought, the game was a close battle from the start. Ogden and Coon Rapids-Bayard both tested each other with a run in the first inning.
From there, both teams stagnated in attack while the tie remained until the end of the third.
With a runner, senior Josh Ramirez approached home plate and watched Ogden pitcher attempt to challenge Ramirez’s power.
It wasn’t long before the challenge against Ramirez quickly turned into a landmark trip for the Crusaders.
One of the early throws failed to cheat Ramirez as he was able to follow the ball and take a powerful hit.
The ball bounced off the stick for Ramirez and didn’t think about falling again until he left the baseball field boundaries at Coon Rapids-Bayard Baseball Field.
Ramirez had a two-run home run, his third of the season, helping the Crusaders start what would be a very long third inning for Ogden.
The Crusaders would accumulate three more runs late in the third inning to take a 6-1 lead after just three innings.
Coon Rapids-Bayard, wary of an Ogden side who scored seven points on them in the previous meeting, knew the best way to secure a win would be to keep scoring points. So that’s exactly what Ramirez did in the fourth inning, when he managed to get around the goals for the seventh point of the game. Ramirez’s second inning of the game helped the Crusaders take a 7-1 lead at the time.
Ogden would score his second point of the game at the start of the fifth inning, but they were not yet finished threatening to extend the game.
After neither team threatened to score in the sixth inning, Ogden made one last push to increase the lead.
The Bulldogs were able to charge up the goals early in the seventh, but the Crusaders never let the potential equalizer reach home plate. Coon Rapids-Bayard resisted the threat and earned a final district victory, moving them to a match of a potential appearance in a state tournament.
Preston McAlister took the victory throwing for the Crusaders. In four innings pitched, he allowed six hits and two earned runs and struck out six batters.
Quentin Culbertson managed to pitch for three innings. He awarded a hit and struck out two batters.
Ramirez finished with three hits, including a home run, a double and three RBIs. He scored two points.
Gabe Obert finished with two hits, a triple and a single. He scored a run and had an RBI.
Easton Hays had a hit. Kolby Culbertson scored one point. Aaron McAlister scored twice; Lance Clayburg scored an RBI, a 1-2 and a run. Preston Mcalister had a stroke. Quentin Culbertson had a run batted in and a run scored. Parker Hays scored one point.
The Crusaders will look to stamp their ticket to Merchants Park as they take on Grundy Center in the Class 1A Substate 6 finals tonight. This game will take place in Nevada. The first pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Grundy Center was able to advance to Substate 6 with an 18-8 overall record this season.
After a pass in the first round, the Spartans managed to defeat BCLUW 11-0. On Saturday, the Spartans managed to beat Janesville in a 5-3 game to send them to substandard.