VAN METER — Collins-Maxwell/Baxter baseball coach Max Seeman wasn’t expecting a final farewell to the Raider program to be as hard as it was Tuesday.
The Raiders ended their season, and the CMB brand expired after a 5-0 loss to Class 2A No. 8 Van Meter during the 2A District 14 semifinals.
Seeman made one final walk to meet with his team. And the Raiders spoke together one final time.
“It was tough. It was a lot more emotional than I thought it would be,” Seeman said. “Even on my walk over there I didn’t think it would be like that. Seeing them the way they were. I told them there is no other group that I would rather take on this ride with me, and that just sent everyone over the edge as far as emotions go.”
Seeman won’t be around for the start of the Baxter Bolts era either. He begins his role as Martensdale-St. Marys Activities Director this month. That made the final huddle more emotional.
“That’s tough too. Everyone over there is turning a new page,” Seeman said. “Nothing made me want to leave Baxter and CMB, but it will be tougher, too, knowing that I won’t be on the football field or basketball court with the Baxter kids next year.”
Under Seeman, CMB has made a habit of playing its best baseball in the postseason. The Raiders reached the district final two seasons ago and advanced to their first and only state baseball tournament last year.
This season, CMB entered the postseason with only four wins but downed Ogden in the quarterfinals on Saturday and played well against a Van Meter team which is now 28-4 on the season.
The Bulldogs only led 2-0 through four innings. They tallied three more in the fifth to pull away, but only one of those runs was earned against CMB senior Brady Kemp.
“These five seniors have done it before so that helps us confidence wise and everyone feeds off that,” Seeman said of the recent postseason success. “They know we play really good teams in the regular season to prepare us for these kind of games against teams our size.
“Brady Kemp’s record coming in wasn’t that good, but he hung with one of the best teams in 2A right there. That tells you all you need to know about this group.”
Kemp allowed three earned runs on six hits and struck out five while walking one and hitting one.
The other four seniors reached base at least once in the game. Brady Ross, Creighton Caple and Tucker Maxwell were all 1-for-3 at the plate. Adam Smith was 0-for-2 but he walked in the fourth inning.
The Raiders (5-21) had a big opportunity to crack the scoreboard in the fourth inning. Caple led off the frame with a single, and then junior Travis Lindemoen hit a one-out single.
Freshman Cole Damman singled after that, but Lindemoen was thrown out at second. Smith walked to load the bases, but Van Meter starter Anthony Lowman got a strikeout to get out of the jam. Damman added a walk to his fourth-inning single to lead the CMB offense.
“That’s happened to us several times this year,” said Seeman about leaving runners on base in the fourth. “We have been working to try to make sure it doesn’t happen anymore, but that’s baseball. That’s how it goes sometimes. The hits go your way sometimes and they don’t go your way other times. Tonight, the hits didn’t go our way.”
Lowman (5-0) got the win for the Bulldogs after allowing five hits in four innings. He struck out six and walked one.
Freshman Anthony Potthoff threw the final three innings and allowed one walk and no hits to get his first save of the season.
“(Lowman) had harder off speed than we are used to,” Seeman said. “My best four or five hitters got on base. But when we hit the ball, we didn’t have guys on base so give credit to their pitching and their defense.”
Van Meter advanced to Saturday’s district final where it plays Roland-Story. The Norse (20-17) were 5-0 winners over Prairie City-Monroe in the earlier game.