ALBIA — Scoring opportunities presented themselves early for Colfax-Mingo High’s Tigerhawks Tuesday’s Iowa Class 2A, District 12 semifinal action. Unfortunately, the Tigerhawks couldn’t cash in and lost, 8-1, to Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont High’s Rockets.
“It’s the way our season has gone all year. We make a couple of mistakes and it just opens up against us,” said Tigerhawk head coach Steve Glenn. “We didn’t get a bunt down in that early opportunity and we got thrown out stealing.”
Colfax-Mingo saw its 2013 baseball season come to an end Tuesday. The Tigerhawks walked off the field at Albia with an 18-19 overall record. The Tigerhawks battled through having two starters go down with injuries in the regular season — seniors Chad McLain and Michael Brown — and yet got to the second round of the district.
“The guys battled and showed up every day. It was big losing Chad, who was leading the state in hits when he got hurt and top five in RBI and steals, and Michael, who was playing a good right field,” Glenn said.
Colfax-Mingo had a good defensive start to the game when the Tigerhawks picked off EBF’s Cory Archer between second and first. They tagged Archer out in a rundown. But the Rockets returned the favor in the bottom of the first inning when they threw out Connor Hainer trying to steal second.
The teams played three scoreless innings until the Rockets took off. Christian Bambrook doubled and scored on a single by Chance Wursta. Jevin Jensen’s bunt was bobbled when the ball was thrown to second base on a fielder’s choice.
Trevor Swartz beat out a bunt for a single to load the bases. It also prompted Glenn to make a pitching change. Starter Caleb Anderson switched places with third baseman Jake Alexander. A wild pitch allowed a Rocket to score and Lewis Winkleman’s one-out fielder’s choice drove in another run.
Colfax-Mingo faced a 3-0 deficit when the Tigerhawks came to bat in the bottom of the fourth. Anderson started a promising two-out rally by working a walk from Winkleman, the Rocket starting pitcher. Colin Lourens delivered a base hit but the Rockets got Jacob Buechrer to ground out to end the threat.
Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont took advantage of a couple of bases--on balls, a hit batter and a passed ball to score a run in the fifth. The Rockets plated three runs in the sixth on three hits and two Tigerhawk errors.
“We call it the quicksand,” Glenn said of the troubled innings by his team. “We get in the quicksand and we can’t get out. We struggle and struggle but it just keeps pulling us down.”
EBF had Winkleman work four innings then went to Swartz for two innings. Bambrook came on to pitch the seventh, retiring the Tigerhawks in order with two strikeouts and a groundout.
Glenn pointed out some highlights for the team in the game.
“It was nice to have our last defensive play being a shortstop-to-first throw. That was one of our biggest struggles all season — finding someone to make that throw from shortstop. Austin (Yoakum) was the fourth guy we tried there and he did a nice job.
“(Hyeongyeop Ayn) is our foreign exchange student from South Korea got into his first varsity game today.”
Ayn went into the game as a pinch runner for Anderson in the sixth inning. Alexander had doubled down the right field line and with one out Anderson reached on an error. Alexander scored on the play.
Ayn said he hadn’t played much baseball before coming to Colfax-Mingo this year.
“I had played a half of year but not much because there are no fields (like this) and hard to make friends to just play a game there,” Ayn said. “This year was a real good experience.”
Anderson pitched three innings for the Tigerhawks and was charged with three runs on five hits and one walk. Alexander pitched three innings, giving up four runs on five hits, six walks — several were intentional passes to set up possible defensive plays — and one hit batter. Alexander struck out two Rocket hitters.
Hainer worked the seventh inning for C-M. He allowed one run on two hits and one walk and had a strikeout.
Alexander connected for a single and a double. Hainer hit two singles and Lourens singled.
“It was a pretty good season for us. We had our ups and downs,” Yoakum said. “We always battled back when we needed to but today, we faced a tough opponent. They beat us during season in the last inning. Today, they got on top of us early.”
Yoakum, Hainer, Anderson, Alexander and Trent Pease were seniors who played their final game for Colfax-Mingo on Tuesday.