WILTON - Executing with two-outs has been a challenge for the Anamosa baseball team for most of this COVID-19 shortened summer season, but Tuesday, July 7, in Wilton, not only did the Raiders execute on the offensive end with two outs, they did defensively too, keying a huge 14-4, five-inning rout over the Beavers.

      “Tuesday was a good day, a very good day,” said Anamosa baseball coach Bryan McCray, as his team trailed 4-3 heading into the top of the fifth before his offense exploded scoring a single inning season-high 11 runs.

      “We hit the ball, then we hit the ball again and then we hit the ball some more in that inning. It was great to see the guys bust out and have a huge inning like that. We all knew we were capable of doing something like that, but to see it actually play out on the field was amazing to watch. We capitalized on a few of Wilton’s mistakes and then played a pretty clean game of our own on the defensive end. On top of all of that, we got a great pitching performance from Eli Lehrman, too. Everything just finally came together for us.”

      Anamosa (4-7) led 3-0 after plating a single run in the second inning followed by two more in the third as consecutive hits by Sam Wilt, Lehrman and Trae Klatt plated Wilt and Lehrman.

      Wilton answered in the bottom of the third scoring four times to take a 4-3 lead before the Raiders’ explosion in the fifth that saw Lehrman and Klatt each score twice in the frame while Wyatt Bickford, Jake Jess, Wilt, Grahm Humpal, Devin Brophy, Seth Schoon and Jared Nelson all cross the plate as well.

      “The only hiccup Eli had was in that third inning, and then he settled down and pitched a great game showing off some phenomenal stuff,” McCray said. “When we get pitching, offense and defense all played at a high level all in the same game, we can beat anyone. Tonight, we were able to score 13 of our 14 runs with two outs, too. The guys were focused and executing.”

      Lehrman went the distance throwing all five frames allowing just three hits while striking out eight Wilton batters. Anamosa’s offense ripped 12 hits overall led by three from Lehrman, who helped himself by going 3-for-3 with two RBIs while Brophy added five RBIs going 2-for-4. Klatt was 2-for-3 with three more runs batted in.

      The Raiders played their final regular season game of the summer hosting class 2A sixth-ranked Mid-Prairie Wednesday, July 8, and while the offense struggled most of the night against the talented Golden Hawks, Anamosa hung around all game long eventually succumbing to a 6-1 defeat.

      “I think we may have got a little too caught up in the rankings and their stats,” McCray said. “Mid-Prairie is a very good team, but the pitcher we faced Wednesday night wasn’t anything we hadn’t already seen earlier this season. Actually, he was similar to the Wilton pitcher we faced the night before and were able to hit extremely well. For some reason I think all that other stuff got into our heads and we lost a game we very well could have won.”

      Leading 1-0 heading into the third, Mid-Prairie plated two runs in each of the next two frames and led 5-0 before adding another run in the fifth.

      The Raiders got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh when Klatt led off with a double and came around to score thanks to a passed ball.

      “I have to give Mid-Prairie credit, they hit the ball well and played a very clean game from start to finish,” McCray said. “Tough to beat a good team when we can’t get our offense going.”

      Anamosa bats were held to just four hits in the game while Jess started on the hill and worked the first three innings before giving way to Wilt, who tossed the final four and fanned eight Golden Hawk batters.

      The Raiders have eight days off until they face class 3A third-ranked Central DeWitt in a district semi-final contest against the host Sabers Friday, July 17, at 7 p.m.

      “Ideally, we’d like to still be playing games leading up to that districts, but with COVID and everything, it is what it is,” McCray said. “We’re making our practices as game-like as possible to keep our skills honed because we’d love nothing more than to go back there and pull off the upset we almost had there last year.

      “If we can have hard-nosed, grind it out at-bats we can beat anybody on any given night. Our team is just too good to be counted out against anyone, and I think we showed that last summer against this very same DeWitt team. And we’re back much more experienced than we were a year ago. I know we’re all looking forward to the challenge.”

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