NEVADA – A jammed finger couldn’t slow down Collins-Maxwell-Baxter pitcher Seth Balke versus Nevada Monday at Billy Sunday Field in Nevada.
Despite injuring himself early in the first inning, Balke managed to throw the best game of his career against the Cubs, tossing a three-hit shutout to lead the Raider baseball team to its first victory with a 5-0 triumph.
Balke hurt his pinkie finger sliding into third base during the top of the first inning. But instead of letting that injury get to him, he dug down and found a way to compensate for it by hitting his spots and getting ahead in the count all game long.
"That took my changeup away, but I was able to locate my fastball and finish with the curve," Balke said.
The only real time Balke was threatened came in the bottom of the fourth inning. CMB was holding onto a 2-0 lead, but a couple of errors in the fourth put runners on the corners for Nevada with just one out.
But Balke didn’t flinch. He retired the next Cub batter on strikes, then picked up a force out at second for the final out to get out of the inning unscathed.
"It was a lot of focus," Balke said. "We’re going to go after the batter and trust my teammates are going to make plays behind me."
Nevada made a little push again in the sixth inning with a pair of singles to again put runners on the corners with two outs. But Balke picked up a big strikeout to get out of the inning and maintain the shutout.
Balke retired the Cubs in order in the seventh to wrap things up and put CMB at 1-3, both overall and in the Heart of Iowa Conference. He didn’t walk a single batter all game and finished with nine strikeouts.
"It was kind of nice to get out here, get some defense behind you and play a good seven innings of baseball," Balke said. "It’s by far our best game of the year. Probably the best game the last two or three years since I’ve played in eighth grade."
Outside of the fourth inning, CMB played error-free ball in the field. But the biggest momentum booster for the Raiders came at the plate.
CMB had only averaged three hits and scored just three runs total in their previous three games. All three runs came in the first inning of two games (versus Saydel and Gilbert), but this time CMB was able to put a couple rallies together.
"When we can string hits together it makes a big difference," CMB head coach Max Seeman said. "We had a lot of young guys able to step up and that’s going to be key all year."
Freshman Creighton Caple came through with the biggest hit of the game for CMB in the top of the fifth inning.
Up 2-0, CMB had the bases loaded with one out after Brady Stover drew a one-out walk, Balke doubled and Zach Samson was intentionally walked. Then Caple stepped up and ripped a double to left field, driving in two runs and giving Balke some breathing room to work with.
"He (Nevada pitcher Alex Good) gave me two fastballs and I hadn’t been on top of them so I knew he was going to try and blow one right by me," Caple said. "I just shortened up my stance and let ‘er rip."
Caple also drove in CMB’s second run of the game in the third inning when he hit a two-strike RBI single with two outs. Stover singled, stole second and scored on a Zach Samson single in the top of the first for CMB’s first run and he drove in the final Raider run with an RBI double in the sixth.
As a team CMB ended up with seven hits.
Good finished with 11 strikeouts and three walks in six innings to take the loss. Nevada fell to 2-2 on the season and in the HOIC.
CMB 5, Nevada 0
CMB 101 021 0 – 5 7 2
N 000 000 0 – 0 3 2
CMB: Seth Balke and Hunter McWhirter
N: Alex Good, Cam Shill (7) and Macade Matuska
2B: CMB – Balke, Creighton Caple, Brady Stover
COLLINS – The Collins-Maxwell-Baxter baseball team wasn’t able to capitalize on strong pitching and fielding in a 2-1 loss to Gilbert Friday at Collins.
CMB pitcher Zach Samson gave up eight hits with four strikeouts and just one walk in the full seven innings on the mound. He was backed by steady defensive play that helped keep Gilbert off the board for the final five innings.
But CMB only put together five hits on offense – all singles. The lack of production with the bat proved to be the Raiders’ downfall as they dropped to 0-3 both overall and in the Heart of Iowa Conference.
In addition to his pitching, Samson also had the best night offensively for CMB. He went a perfect 3-for-3 and drove in CMB’s lone run in the bottom of the first inning.
Brady Stover went 1-for-1 with a single and he also drew three walks and scored CMB’s run. Creighton Caple went 1-for-3 to account for CMB’s only other hit and Brady Kemp picked a free pass for the Raiders.
Gilbert 2, CMB 1
G 020 000 0 – 2 8 NA
CMB 100 000 0 – 1 5 NA
CMB: Zach Samson and Hunter McWhirter
COLLINS – Collins-Maxwell-Baxter hung tough with Saydel early on May 28 in Collins, but the Raiders fell apart down the stretch in a 10-2 setback.
CMB scored both of its runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a 2-1 lead. They maintained that edge until the fourth inning when Saydel plated one run to tie the game.
In the top of the fifth, CMB had its only bad stretch of the game. But it proved to be a big difference maker as Saydel put six runs on the board.
The Eagles added two more runs in the seventh to close the door on a Raider team that failed to get anything going on offense after the opening frame.
CMB ended up with just two hits. Creighton Caple and Hunter McWhirter both singled once for the Raiders and Caple also drove in one run.
Brady Stover and Seth Balke both walked and scored once. Zach Samson delivered one walk and one steal.
Stover took the loss on the mound. He allowed eight runs – just four earned – on nine hits with eight strikeouts and three walks in five innings.
McWhirter gave up two earned runs on two hits with one walk and a pair of strikeouts in two innings for CMB.
Michael Miller threw 3 2/3 hitless innings of relief with four strikeouts and no walks to pick up the victory for Saydel. Rece Martin started the game for the Eagles and he allowed one earned run with nine strikeouts and three walks.
Devin Porter went 3-for-4 with one run and RBI apiece for Saydel on offense. Michael Miller and Dylan Coffin were both 2-for-4 with a double and one run and Coffin drove in two runs and Coffin knocked in one.
Saydel 10, CMB 2
S 100 160 2 – 10 11 NA
CMB 200 000 0 – 2 2 NA
S: Rece Martin, Michael Miller and Dylan Coffin
CMB: Brady Stover, Hunter McWhirter (6) and McWhirter, Stover (6)
2B: S – Coffin, Michael Miller
STORY CITY – The season didn’t open in a kind manner for Collins-Maxwell-Baxter May 27 in Story City as the Raiders were overwhelmed by Roland-Story in six innings, 10-0.
Roland-Story led 9-0 by the end of the fourth inning. CMB gave up one run in the first and fourth frames, three in the second and four in the third.
The Norsemen scored their final run in the sixth to end the game on account of the 10-run rule.
CMB finished with just two hits. Seth Balke and Spencer Gauch each singled once and Brady Stover drew a walk for the Raiders.
Balke was the losing pitcher as he allowed 10 runs – six earned – on 12 hits with six strikeouts and no walks in five innings. Nate Bishop gave up one hit and picked up a strikeout in 1/3 of an inning for CMB.
Andrew Schlatter went 3-for-3 with two doubles and two runs and Zach Hovick was 2-for-2 with three steals, one run and three RBI for Roland-Story. Alex Urbanek threw four scoreless innings with four strikeouts and no walks to pick up the win for the Norsemen.
Roland-Story 10, CMB 0 (6)
CMB 000 000 – 0 2 NA
R-S 134 101 – 10 13 NA
CMB: Seth Balke, Nate Bishop (6) and Hunter McWhirter
R-S: Alex Urbanek, Thomas Wilgenbusch (5) and Nick Moore
2B: R-S – Andrew Schlatter 2, Tyler Hovick