McLain, Alexander lead Tigerhawks past Raiders
|CMB sophomore Zach Samson is greeted by coach Derek Schultz as he rounds third base upon a solo home run in the fourth inning against Colfax-Mingo on Monday. (Mike Hockett/Daily News)|
COLFAX — It may have been Senior Night for the Colfax-Mingo baseball team, but it was a pair of juniors who carried it to victory.
Behind a big night at the plate from Chad McLain and a solid pitching performance from Jake Alexander, the Tigerhawks earned a 5-2 win over Jasper County rival Collins-Maxwell-Baxter on Monday night in Colfax, wrapping up the Heart of Iowa Conference schedule for both teams.
Colfax-Mingo (14-12, 6-8 Heart of Iowa Conference) scored twice in the first and third innings to take a 4-1 lead and added another in the fifth, while CMB (1-20, 1-16) scored in the second and fourth.
McLain finished a double away from the cycle, going 3-for-3 with a single, triple and a home run and two RBIs.
“He’s a bad-ball hitter. I don’t think he swung at a strike tonight,” Tigerhawks coach Steve Glenn said about McLain, whose batting average raised to .494. “He hits bad balls and he hits them hard. He’s had a great season.”
Meanwhile, Alexander racked up 10 strikeouts while going the distance on the mound. He finished with 110 pitches.
“It felt great. I got a lot of rest, came out and felt fine,” Alexander said. “I just tried to throw strikes.”
Alexander had four walks and two balks, but was able to keep the Raiders off the scoreboard for the final three innings by getting his defense off the field when CMB had runners in scoring position. The Raiders stranded nine runners in the game, including five over the last three innings. Each team finished with eight hits.
“Jake struggled with control a bit, but he got the strikeouts when we needed them,” Glenn said. “The zero-out, one-out strikeouts are huge.”
Colfax-Mingo has four more games left this week before a Class 2A District playoff game on Saturday, while Monday was the last regular season game for CMB — which is off until Saturday.
The Tigerhawks got on the board early as junior Connor Hainer led off the bottom of the first inning with a single, stole second and third base and then was brought home on a groundout from Alexander. One batter later, McLain launched the first pitch he got and sent it just over the right field fence for a solo home run and a 2-0 lead. McLain has 43 hits this season, but that was his first home run of his varsity career.
The Raiders got a run back in the top of the second inning as sophomore Zach Samson and junior Aaron Haupert had singles to put runners on the corners. With two outs, a passed ball allowed Samson to score. CMB ended the inning stranding runners on second and third base, however, as sophomore Jacob Stratton was narrowly thrown out at first on a ground ball for the third out.
The Raiders would go on to also strand two runners in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings.
“We’ve always been pretty good at getting out of those spots,” Alexander said. “We just have to keep it going.”
Colfax-Mingo struck twice more in the bottom of the third inning, as Hainer singled, stole second and third and came around to score on a double from Alexander that reached the center field fence. Junior Austin Yoakum pinch-ran for Alexander, and he also scored as McLain came up to bat next and smoked a triple to center field to make the score 4-0.
CMB stayed within arm’s length of the Tigerhawks when Samson led off the top of the fourth inning with a solo home run over center field, but the Raiders once again left two runners on the bags as Alexander got his third strikeout of the inning.
Colfax-Mingo scored the final run of the game in the bottom of the fourth. Seniors Mitch Larson and Alex Baylor had back-to-back singles, and Larson scored on an RBI-groundout from senior Tyler Annis.
The Raiders best chance to rally was in the top of the sixth with the top of their order at the plate. Senior Kaleb Durham and eighth-grader Brady Stover had back-to-back singles and then advanced to second and third on an infield fly out, but a pop up and a strikeout ended the inning.
In the seventh, a single and a wild pitch allowed CMB to put runners on first and third, bringing Samson to the plate as the potential tying run. But Alexander got him to fly out, and then struck out junior Zach Hartgers looking to end the game.
The game was a much better one than when the Tigerhawks routed the Raiders 14-2 back on June 11.
“We’ve been seeing their (CMB) scores and that they’ve been playing teams tough,” Glenn said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be a 14-2 game. We were ready for that.”
Colfax-Mingo hosts a doubleheader tomorrow afternoon, playing two different opponents. It plays Southeast Warren at noon and then Iowa Christian at 4 p.m.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
CMB — 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 8 0
C-M — 2 0 2 1 0 0 X 5 8 1
WP: Jake Alexander (7IP, 2R, 2ER, 8H, 4BB, 10K). LP: Levi Anderson (6IP, 5R, 5ER, 8H, 2BB, 2K). CMB hitting: Zach Samson 2x4 (HR, RBI, 2R), Brady Stover 2x3, Four with one hit each. C-M hitting: Chad McClain 3x3 (HR, 3B, 2 RBI), Alexander 1x2 (2B, 2 RBI), Connor Hainer 2x3 (2R, 4SB). Left on base: CMB 9, C-M 2.
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