CEDAR FALLS — The battle for the Metro Tournament title turned into a baseball marathon Thursday as Waterloo Columbus and Cedar Falls played well into the night.
When the final out of a 16-7 Tiger win was recorded, most of the fans had already left Robinson-Dresser Complex.
“I think it went past a lot of peoples’ bedtime, even some of our players,” Cedar Falls coach Nick Klein said. “We didn’t think it would go this long and we had chances to end it, but did not get the runs we needed. No one wants to play on in a game if you have the chance to end it.”
The Tigers threw freshman pitcher Max Steinlage to start the game and he held his own through three innings of work.
“We had one starter out tonight so we decided to throw Max,” said Klein. “He is our only left handed pitcher right now and he threw like we expected him to. He showed some good stuff and by going tonight he was able to get his feet wet and that will help him down the road.”
With the game knotted at 3-3 heading to the bottom of the third, the Tigers exploded for seven runs and looked to distance themselves from the Sailors for a 10-run game.
Drew Hoth began with a walk and Conner Gerdes doubled off the fence. Gage Flanscha followed with a bloop single to load the bases for Conrad Burke.
Burke came through with a two-run double and Jackson Steffener followed with a sacrifice fly. Mitch Young and Tate Johnson had RBI singles, as well, to boost the Tigers’ lead to 10-3.
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The Sailors struck back for four runs in the fifth frame and cut their deficit to 10-7.
Cedar Falls answered with three runs in both the fifth and sixth innings .
Conner Gerdes paced the Tiger attack with two doubles, a single and two RBIs.
Carter Gallagher tagged a single and double for Columbus.
Cedar Falls 16, Columbus 7
Columbus 120 004 0 — 7 6 4
Cedar Falls 307 033 x — 16 12 3
Ben Leibold, Blake Freeseman (3), Joe Dunlay (5) and Josh Merrifield. Max Steinlage, Peyton Stuckey (4) and Casey Sole. WP—Stuckey (1-0), LP Freeseman (0-1). 2B—Carter Gallagher (WC), Conner Gerdes 2 (CF), Conrad Burke (CF).