A swing in momentum in the third inning was too much for the Decorah baseball team to overcome Monday night in the Class 3A District finals as the Vikings fell to No. 1 Xavier, 9-4, in Cedar Rapids.

The Saints (37-2) faced Charles City (18-16) in the substate final Wednesday in Cedar Rapids.

Decorah ends the season 16-17.

“While the end result of this game is not what we hoped for, the preparation and effort where there for all seven innings from all of the kids. Xavier has an outstanding offensive lineup that puts a tremendous amount of pressure on a defense and pitching staff,” said Viking Coach Adam Riley. “With exception of the third inning when a few things did not go our way and we made a few errors, we played excellent baseball.  In many of our losses this season, we just had a difficult time avoiding these types of innings.”

After scoreless first and second innings, the Vikings opened the gate to scoring. Issued a walk, Briggs Duwe scored on a Drake Shelton single in the third to take a short-term lead, 1-0. In the bottom of the third, Xavier grabbed the momentum, plating seven runs. 

Decorah closed the gap in the top of the fourth frame, scoring three times. The Saints added two more to their tally in the sixth inning to advance to the substate final, 9-4.

The Vikings had nine hits including a double by Duwe and a pair of singles by Andy Murphy. Providing other offensive support with hits were Kailer McCabe, Jace Johnson, Drake Shelton, Cael Luzum, Ryan Schneberger and Keenan Tyler.

Johnson took the tough loss on the mound. He went four innings, giving up six earned runs on nine hits. Luzum threw the final two frames.

“This is not the way we wanted things to end for our six seniors, but they can hold their heads high for all that they have done and been a part of during their Decorah Baseball careers,” said Coach Riley. “We would like to thank all of their parents and fans for their support through the season. We had great crowd for so many of our games and even for the final two games that traveled to outnumber our opposing crowds. It is always great to see support for the kids and Decorah Baseball.”

Graduating off the team are Jace Johnson, Caleb Keck, Kailer McCabe, Andy Murphy, Ryan Schneberger and Drake Shelton.