SPRINGVILLE - Coming into Springville Wednesday, June 24, the Midland baseball team knew they’d have to be on their game if they wanted to leave town with a pair of wins playing an undefeated Oriole team.
That’s exactly what the Eagles did.
“We played well in all areas,” said Midland baseball coach Josh Soper, as his team rolled to a 9-0 triumph in the first game of the doubleheader.
“Alex (Smith) really had command of all of his pitches and we played solid defense behind him. Offensively, we took what they gave us and hit well with runners in scoring position.”
Midland (5-4) plated four first inning runs to take control of the contest immediately as Jensen Dodge, Wilson Buckwalter, Smith and Zain Sauer all crossed the plate as the Eagles set the tone.
A Dodge double in the top of the fourth plated teammates Aaron Bixler and Sawyer Hansen before a Smith ground out scored Warren Etten with another run handing the Eagles a 7-0 advantage.
A Buckwalter triple in the sixth plated Dodge before Buckwalter also scored thanks to a Smith single.
Dodge, Smith, Iziek Soper and Etten all ripped two hits in the game powering an 11-hit Midland offense while Smith was brilliant on the mound, working all seven innings tossing a four-hit shutout while striking out 10 Oriole batters.
Midland completed the sweep in the nightcap cruising to a 12-1 triumph that ended in five frames thanks to a huge six-run top of the fifth.
The Eagles broke a scoreless tie in the top of the third when Bixler delivered as bases loaded single that scored Sauer to get the visitors on the board before a Soper walk plated Hansen.
Midland was just getting started, as Buckwalter, Smith, Soper and Jamisen Dodge all crossed the plate in the fourth before the Eagles blew the game wide-open in the fifth.
Bixler had a huge night going 3-for-3 at the plate with five RBIs while Smith added two hits.
Sauer got the start on the hill and worked the first two innings before giving way to Etten, who tossed the final three allowing four hits while fanning four.
Midland returned home for a match-up with class 1A seventh-ranked Alburnett Thursday, June 25, and in the opener of the twin bill were handed a wild 13-9 defeat.
Trailing 13-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Eagles struck for six runs before their rally would come up short.
“We started the game on our heels and got behind and didn’t recover,” Soper said. “We chipped away in the end, but just dug too deep of a hole.”
Midland bats were held to five hits, though the team did work Pirate pitching for six walks.
“Alburnett is a really solid ball club in all areas,” Soper said. “They were defeated the night before so we knew they would be ready to play.”
The Pirates plated two first inning runs before adding four more in the second to take a 6-0 advantage. Leading 7-0 in the sixth, Alburnett scored three runs to take a 10-0 lead before the Eagles kept the game going tallying three of their own in the bottom half.
The second game saw Midland bats struggle in a 14-4, six-inning setback to the Pirates.
Trailing 8-0, the Eagles scored all of their runs in the fourth as Sauer, Soper, Hansen and Etten all crossed the plate.
Three runs by Alburnett in each of the fifth and sixth frames ended the contest early.
“We just ran out of gas in the second game,” Soper said. “We forget that this is only our fourth week of play. Players aren’t quite in shape yet. Hopefully, we’ll get another opportunity to play them in the post-season.”
Buckwalter’s two hits led a six-hit Eagle offense.