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Grand slam punches Trojans’ tickets

IC West returns to Des Moines with 11-1 win over Davenport West
Izaya Ono-Fullard carries the 2017 Class 4A state tournament qualifier banner as the Iowa City West High Trojans leave the field Wednesday, July 19, after defeating Davenport West, 11-1, in a five-inning substate final. Z, as he’s called, knocked a grand slam in the bottom of the fifth inning to seal the win. (photos by Chris Umscheid)

IOWA CITY– Izaya Ono-Fullard punched the ball over the fence, and in so doing, punched Iowa City West High’s ticket to the 2017 Class 4A State Baseball Tournament in Des Moines.
Fullard, a senior, drilled a grand slam in the bottom of the fifth inning Wednesday, July 19, at home, in the substate final against the Davenport West Falcons. The four-run homer gave the Trojans an 11-1 lead, ending the game under the mercy rule.
The Falcons threatened, in the top of the second inning, with two men on and one out, but a pair of strikeouts from Braden Houston stopped the threat.
Tony Comellas put Iowa City West on the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning with a solo home run for a 1-0 lead.
Ono-Fullard took first base in the bottom of the third after being hit by a pitch and was driven home by Connor McCaffery and a two-run homer making it 3-0.
Jason Strunk scored on an RBI double by Lucas Karwal for a 4-0 lead before a double play ended the inning for the Trojans.
The Falcons scored one earned run in the top of the fourth, but the Trojans answered with three runs in the bottom half. McCaffery belted an RBI double, Strunk brought in a runner and McCaffery came home on a loose ball to make it 7-1.
Lightning led to a 30-minute pause in the middle of the fifth inning. When play resumed, the Falcons had a new man on the mound, who walked Houston, Dane Randall and Nate Disterhoft in order. Ono-Fullard, known as Z, stepped up to the plate with bases loaded, and no outs. “End it, Z!” was heard from Trojan nation.
And that’s just what he did.
McCaffery and Comellas had two hits each (one home run each) while Disterhoft, Ono-Fullard (grand slam), Logan Sims, Karwal, Houston and Randall all had one hit apiece. Houston pitched all five innings, giving up five hits and one earned run, while walking one and striking out six. The Trojans improved their record to 31-8, while the Falcons retired at 22-14.
The win sent the Trojans to Principal Park in Sec Taylor Stadium, in Des Moines, for the 2017 Class 4A State Baseball Tournament for the fourth consecutive time. The action started Wednesday, July 19, in the quarterfinals against Mississippi Valley Conference foe Cedar Rapids Washington (24-15). Semifinal play is set for Friday, July 28, with the championship on Saturday, July 29, at 7:30 p.m.