MONTICELLO - It’s what good teams do to win when not all facets of the game are working seamlessly at the same time.
“You have to be able to take advantage of your opportunities, and that’s what we did at Monticello,” said Anamosa baseball coach Bryan McCray, as his team used outstanding approaches at the plate, as well as several Panther errors to pull away for an impressive 8-1 triumph over their rivals to the north Friday, June 19.
“This was a very fun game to be a part of, and for the most part it was a pretty clean game too, but I think it was our aggressiveness that allowed us to come out on top and beat Monticello for the first time since I’ve been coaching at Anamosa.”
The Raiders (1-2) picked up their first victory of the 2020 summer as well, breaking the game open plating six third-inning runs after holding a 2-0 advantage heading into the frame.
“The boys played with a lot of confidence and were aggressive and forcing Monticello to make plays,” McCray said. “We were aggressive on the base paths and took extra bases when we could which helped us score six times in the third with only two hits in the inning.”
Jake Jess, Sam Wilt, Eli Lehrman, Trae Klatt, Devin Brophy and Seth Schoon all crossed the plate in the game-changing frame as two hit by pitches and a walk also helped Anamosa forge to an 8-0 lead.
Anamosa broke a scoreless tie in the top of the second when Klatt led off the inning with a single and Grahm Humpal followed by reaching on an error that allowed Klatt to cross the plate.
Humpal scored thanks to an RBI single from Devin Brophy.
Monticello got on the board in the bottom of the sixth, breaking the Raider shutout bid by Jess, who tossed a sensational complete game three-hitter without allowing an earned run while fanning two and walking just one.
“Jake was in control all game long,” McCray said. “It helped that we got him some early runs and we has able to pitch without too much pressure and just went out and did what he does, throw strikes and let his defense make plays.”
And make plays Anamosa did all game long, committing a mere one error in the contest, which allowed the Panthers to score their lone run.
“It’s amazing what these guys can accomplish when they play with confidence,” McCray said. “We’re a completely different team, one that can play with anyone. Once these kids fully understand that, we’ll become a really, really good team.”
Jess helped himself at the plate leading a six-hit Raider offense with two singles while Bickford, Wilt, Klatt and Brophy all added hits for the visitors.
Anamosa hosted West Liberty Thursday, June 18, and in a back-and-forth contest with the Comets, came up on the short end of a wild 6-5 score.
“Even with us fighting back on several occasions to get into this game, we just did too good of a job giving it away and that’s what cost us at the end,” said McCray, as West Liberty plated the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh to claim the victory.
“We made several small mistakes that allowed West Liberty to get guys on base who shouldn’t have been there and then to score runs that should have never been able to cross the plate. We just didn’t take care of the little things and in close games that always comes back to haunt you, and it cost us a win that we should have had.”
The Comets struck first plating a run in the top of the first before Bickford doubled to lead off the game for the hosts in the bottom half and came around to score thanks to an RBI single off the bat of Klatt.
The Comets scored again in the third, taking a 2-1 lead before the Raiders once again rallied in the bottom half when Jess scored thanks to an RBI double from Wilt to knot the score at 2-2.
Another West Liberty run in the fourth once again had the visitors in front before Anamosa bounced back with two in the bottom half when Jared Nelson and Bickford both scored giving the Raiders a 4-3 lead.
It didn’t last long.
The Comets scored two in the fifth to lead 5-4, but for the fourth time in the game Anamosa came back as Wilt walked and scored on a Klatt single to once again tie the score.
“I was very happy with the way we were able to hit the ball, especially after all the struggles we had in our season-opener at Camanche,” said McCray, as his team ripped nine hits against West Liberty pitching.
“We made some adjustments that worked and hit well enough to win the game, but this time it was our defense that let us down as we made little mistakes like not catching balls in the outfield and not covering first base when we needed to.”
The two teams combined to make 10 errors in the game, six coming from Anamosa’s side.
“It didn’t seem like West Liberty made four errors in that game,” McCray said. “It did seem like we made six though.”
Klatt powered the Raider offense coming through with three hits while also driving home three runs while Jess and Wilt added two hits each.
Schoon got the start on the hill and worked the game’s first three innings allowing one hit and one earned run while striking out four. Klatt tossed the final four frames yielding five hits while fanning one.