ANAMOSA - Coming off a pair of extremely frustrating losses hosting West Branch and Monticello earlier in the week leading into their contest hosting North Cedar Friday, July 3, Anamosa baseball coach Bryan McCray challenged his team.

      “We played some ugly baseball against West Branch on Monday (June 29) and then against Monticello on Tuesday (June 30) we did everything we could to lose that game. I just lost it after that game against Monticello and unloaded on the kids and then Wednesday morning I had 11 guys show up at 7 a.m. for a 10 a.m. practice. They wanted to work and not have repeat performances from Monday and Tuesday when we faced North Cedar on Friday.”

      Anamosa (3-6) responded to the challenge and jumped all over the Knights early on, eventually rolling to an 8-4 victory.

      “I was excited about the response the boys had. I didn’t have to do a whole lot of coaching in this game either, a few of the boys took care of that for me. When they saw something they knew wasn’t right, they took care of it and addressed it and made sure it wouldn’t happen again. It was great to see leaders on this team step up.”

      The Raiders plated three first inning runs and led 4-0 heading into the third when they busted the game open scoring four more to lead 8-0.

      The visitors plated a single run in the fourth before adding three more in the seventh.

      “We still weren’t playing our best baseball, but the boys found a way to win, and that’s what is important,” McCray said. “Jake Jess threw a solid game for us on the mound too. Jake does such a great job pitching to contact and threw another complete game for us. He’s the only pitcher who has thrown a complete game this season for us and he now has three of them.”

      Jess tossed all seven frames allowing just four hits while fanning five North Cedar batters.

      Jess helped himself with two hits at the plate as well while Grahm Humpal also ripped a pair of hits for the hosts.

      The week started with a tough 9-7 setback hosting West Branch Monday, June 29.

      Anamosa led 4-3 (after three innings) and 7-5 (after five) before the Bears battled back scoring the game’s final five runs to win, including four in a huge sixth inning.

      “We’ve got to do a better job of executing defensively with two outs,” McCray said. “All nine of West Branch’s runs were scored with two outs, and most of those were unearned, too.”

      Sam Wilt got the start on the mound and worked the game’s first 5.1 innings allowing seven hits and just one earned run while striking out nine.

      “Sam put us in a position to win the game,” McCray said. “We just didn’t make the plays behind him, and that’s what was so frustrating.”

      Six Anamosa errors led to eight unearned West Branch runs while Wyatt Bickford and Trae Klatt led Raiders bats each ripping two hits to guide a seven-hit host offense.

      Anamosa looked to complete a season-sweep of rival Monticello Tuesday, June 30, but instead were handed a bitter 6-4 setback after cruising to a win over the Panthers just a week earlier.

      “We just played a horrible game,” McCray said. “You have to hand it to Monticello though, they were able to put that last game against us behind them and get the win.”

      Eli Lehrman singled in Bickford in the top of the first and it appeared the Raiders were going to be well on their way to another win over Monticello.

      It wound up being their only lead of the game as the Panthers plated three third inning runs and never trailed the rest of the way.

      Anamosa bats were held to five hits, though Jess and Klatt did rip doubles.

      Seth Schoon started on the mound and worked the game’s first three frames before giving way to Alex Shover. Neither pitcher allowed an earned run in the game.

      “Tough way to lose, but we have to come back from this,” McCray said. “With the way the kids responded to our talk after the game Tuesday night, I think we will see a new team as he head down the stretch of the season.”

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