CASCADE - Very few expected the Anamosa baseball team, a program that has struggled mightily for years to win baseball games, especially against state-ranked foes like Cascade, to pick up a win against the host and class 2A eighth-ranked Cougars Thursday, May 30.
So, the Raiders decided to just go out and shock the world.
Or, at the very least the River Valley Conference world.
“This was a game we really needed,” said Anamosa baseball coach Bryan McCray, as his Raiders stunned Cascade in the first game of the league twinbill taking a thrilling 4-3 final.
“Trae Klatt deserves a ton of credit for the effort that he had. He was in pain and was able to gut it out and get the win for us. Nolan (McLean) also did a nice job of shutting down Cascade and closing the door at the end. We still made some mistakes, but this was a huge win for our program.”
Anamosa (2-5, 1-1) trailed 3-0 early on as the Cougars plated a single run in the second inning before adding two more in the third.
Then, the Raiders went to work.
McLean walked and came around to score in the top of the fourth thanks to a sacrifice fly off the bat of Klatt.
Confidence was starting to build.
Anamosa added two more runs in the fifth when Walker Marsh and Seth Schoon each crossed the plate.
All of a sudden, the game was tied.
But not for long.
Jake Jess doubled and came around to score what proved to be the game-winning run when Wyatt Bickford delivered a huge RBI single.
Klatt worked the game’s first six innings on the hill and allowed a mere two hits and one earned run while fanning three.
McLean was charged with the seventh inning, and while allowing a walk and a hit, was able to work his way out of trouble.
Bickford led the Anamosa offense with two hits while McLean, Eli Lehrman and Jess also got to Cascade pitchers.
The Raiders looked to complete the sweep in the nightcap but instead were handed a rough 12-0, five-inning defeat.
“The score was not indicative of how we played,” McCray said. “One thing that absolutely needs to be stressed throughout our program, however, is first pitch strikes.
“When we do not get those, than we are always working behind which is not a good place to be. We swung the bats okay, but not as well as we should have.”
The game was scoreless into the third when the Cougar offense broke loose plating three runs before adding nine more in the fourth frame.
Five different Raiders tallied hits (Marsh, Sam Wilt, McLean, Lehrman and Schoon) in the game while Cascade tallied five of their own to go with six walks to earn a split of the conference doubleheader.
Anamosa kept the winning ways going Friday, May 31, returning home to post a 9-2 victory hosting Easton Valley.
“Not our best game, but we had some great timely two-out hits and RBIs from Seth Schoon and Jake Jess,” McCray said. “Eli Lehrman also pitched a heck of a game for us.”
The Raiders set the tone early as Wilt and McLean both scored in the opening frame before the River Hawks added a run in the top of the third.
Anamosa answered in their half of the frame to get their two-run lead back when McLean walked, stole two bases and then scored on an Easton Valley error.
Leading 3-2 in the fifth, the hosts took over plating three runs in their final two at-bats.
“The energy for us was great throughout the game,” McCray said. “It was awesome to see our guys having so much fun out on the diamond.”
Anamosa needed just one Schoon hit to pull out the seven-run victory as the team worked 11 walks from Easton Valley pitchers.
The Raiders were back on the home field Saturday, June 1, hosting a three-team round-robin tournament opening with a narrow 8-7 loss against Maquoketa.
The hosts were trailing 8-2 heading into their final at-bat when things all of a sudden got very interesting.
Anamosa plated five runs (Wilt, McLean, Lehrman, Klatt and Bickford) in the bottom of the seventh and had the game-tying run in scoring position before the Cardinals worked out of the jam.
“Our tournament was not the best day for us,” McCray said. “We lost to Maquoketa 8-7, but it was only because of a seventh-inning rally that it was even close.
“I was a little upset about the lack of adjustments we made at the plate. We need to make sure we are waiting on the ball if we are facing a pitcher that does not throw hard. We were popping everything up or hitting it way foul, which after the first time through the order, we need to do a better job at.”
Three-run frames in the second and fifth innings keyed the Maquoketa victory.
Lehrman and Bickford ripped two hits each for the Anamosa offense while Wilt scored three times.
Jess got the start on the mound and struck out three in 3 1/3 innings before leaving with arm trouble. D.J. Reese tossed the final 3 2/3 innings of three-hit baseball fanning three Cardinal batters.
The Raiders looked to salvage the final game of the tournament hosting Springville but instead were handed a bitter 9-2 defeat.
“We were a much better team, and it did not show,” McCray said. “I think we’re trying to do way too much at the plate. Rather than everybody taking one at-bat at a time, it seemed like everyone was trying to kill the ball.”
The Orioles broke open a close 4-1 game when they plated five runs in the top of the seventh.
Raider bats were held to five hits, though Klatt and Alex Shover did rip doubles in the contest.