Trey Lapke collected three hits and picked up the save in relief as third-seeded Sioux City East defeated seventh-seeded Clinton 6-1 Friday night at Principal Park in the final Class 4A semifinal game. The Black Raiders (32-9) will meet fourth-seeded Johnston (28-12) in the championship game Saturday night.
It will be East's third trip to the championship game. The Black Raiders lost to Ottumwa in the 1996 and 1997 title games, then went winless in trips to state in 2000 and 2003.
Clinton — after posting its first state tournament win since 1970 in the quarterfinals — ends at 26-15.
Lapke had two singles and a triple as East outhit Clinton 8-3.
East junior Hayden Godfrey (8-2) allowed just two hits and one run in five innings. Godfrey retired the first six batters he faced before allowing two baserunners — on a single and an error to start the third. He got out of the inning and retired nine straight heading into the sixth when the Kings put the first three men on base. Lapke came on in relief and got out of the bases-loaded jam with only one run scored. Lapke held off the Kings in the seventh for the save.
East took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second. Lapke led off with a single and scored as Hayden Godfrey ripped a triple down the right-field line. JJ Stephens followed with a sacrifice fly.
The Black Raiders added two more runs in the third. Jake Westphal had an RBI single and Lapke slugged an RBI triple to push the margin to 4-0.
Clinton loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the sixth on a single by Alex Caldwell, an error and a walk. With two outs, Ryan Driscoll singled to center, scoring one run, but centerfielder Dom Thompson-Williams nailed the second runner at the plate trying to score on the play, keeping the margin at 4-1.
East scored twice in the top of the seventh for a 6-1 lead. An error, a single by Spencer Franco, a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly by Brandon Carlson pushed across the first run. Tyler Franko singled in the second run.
Jake Simpson (4-2) went the first three innings for the Kings and allowed five hits and four runs — all earned. Jake Faur came on in relief to start the fourth and finished the game. He allowed three hits and two runs.
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