ACKLEY Each time South Tama's varsity baseball team has been swept in a doubleheader, it's played well on the following night.
Hanging their heads and letting two losses snowball into more isn't an option for this group of Trojans. On June 14, they lost two games at Grinnell, but only to come back and win convincingly at Grundy Center on the following day.
Tuesday's contest against AGWSR were similar to Friday's game. South Tama dropped a doubleheader against East Marshall by a combined two runs on Monday. On Tuesday, the Trojans were back on the winning trail with a five-inning, run-rule victory. The Trojans (9-8) beat the Cougars (0-9) 15-1.
"I told them, 'that's what good teams do,'" coach Seth Koch said. "Good teams come back and take care of business they way they're supposed to."
South Tama wasted no time in taking control of Tuesday's contest. Kolton Smith and Jacob Clark led off the game with a hit by pitc and an RBI double, giving STC a 1-0 lead after two batters. Chase Schuett hit Clark home on a fielder's choice. STC led 2-0 after the top half of the first inning.
Dalton Doyle scored in the second inning. He was walked to start the inning. Three batters later, Kaleb Davenport hit an RBI single, scoring Doyle.
The Trojans' big inning came in the third. They added six runs to take a 9-0 lead. The Trojans' scored runs from six of their first seven batters in the inning. Crossing home plate were Clark, Schuett, Noah Bearden, Doyle, Sam Kuhter and Tank Keckler. Bearden hit a two-run double in the inning.
"I thought Noah Bearden hit the heck out of the ball for us tonight," Koch said. "Kaleb Davenport had a nice couple of swings, too. It's nice in a game like this to get some other guys in the game. We got some other guys involved late in the game."
South Tama gave up one run in the bottom of the third inning. After recording one out, two batters were walked and one advanced to third on a passed ball. He later scored before the Trojans closed the inning.
"We came out and got a couple of runs early," Koch said. "That always helps the pitcher's confidence. I thought Dalton did a nice job of going out, establishing himself and throwing strikes.
"I had to get on him a little bit in the third," he said. "I think we were up 9-0 and he walked a couple of guys on 10 pitches. That's a lack of focus and that's a common mistake young pitchers make. I went out, had a little discussion with him, he bounced back and threw the ball in the strike zone. That's how you learn and get things done."
STC added three more runs in the fourth inning. Bearden, Keckler and Kaleb Davenport all scored, giving STC a 12-1 lead after four innings. The Trojans scored their final three runs in the fifth inning. Nate Hala, Bearden and Kyle Llewelyn all scored. Landon Mathes hit a two-run single, before Ian Slagle also reached base on a single.
"You have to feel good for Landon Mathes," Koch said. "Landon is kind of our spark plug on the bench. He gets a hit into right field that scores three. You have to feel good for him, because he's a big part of the team with what he does in the dugout. It was nice to see him have some success."
South Tama shut the door in the fifth inning as it faced just four batters. Clark relieved Doyle on the mound to close out the game.
"The nicest thing tonight might have been to see Jake Clark come out and throw an inning," Koch said. "He hasn't thrown since early June, so it's been 15 or 16 days since he got on the mound. He looked like he had command and he looks like the old Jake. Hopefully, we can get him back for the rest of the season and make some things happen."
On Monday, the Trojans hosted East Marshall in a doubleheader to take control of the NICL West division. The Mustangs escaped with two one-run victories. They won 1-0 and 5-4.
"Those were games that could have gone either way," Koch said. "It was good high school baseball. It's one of things if we execute here or there, we might get one or both of them. I felt really bad for the kids after the game, because they played really hard."
"We had a couple of defensive letdowns in the second game," Koch said. "Of the five runs East Marshall scored, only one of them was earned. You can't do that against good teams. We learned a bit of a lesson there and responded well tonight."