(Clarinda) — Clarinda’s baseball program edged out Treynor on Saturday night to move within one win of a second-straight state tournament finish.
The No. 5 2A Cardinals (22-7) shrugged off some early defensive issues and used a small-ball approach to cruise to the dominant 11-1 win in a game heard on KMA-FM 99.1.
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“We made some unusual mistakes early on,” coach Rod Eberly said. “But offensively, we did a lot of good things and put pressure on them. Offensively, I think we played really well.”
“We all came out warm and ready to go,” second-year shortstop Cole Baumgart. “It was the best baseball we’ve played all year.”
Clarinda totaled just seven hits, all singles, to score in 11 runs, but they also drew six walks and capitalized on three Treynor errors.
His patient approach at the plate sparked his usually aggressive mentality on base as he took advantage of some wild passes and pitches from Treynor.
“We were patient at the plate,” Eberly said. “When we get on base, we have an opportunity to be effective offensively. That’s what happened.”
Coach Eberly’s team had two runs in the first, including one on an RBI single by Baumgart.
Treynor responded with a run in the second, but Clarinda pulled away with impressive performances in the second and fourth innings. Clarinda tore through the lineup in the second and fourth, putting up five in the second and four in the fourth for the five-inning win.
“We weren’t chasing a lot of bad pitches,” Eberly said. “We were hitting a lot of hard line drives. When you use your speed and hit the ball on the ground, it makes outs difficult for anyone. I was happy with how we performed at the plate.”
Baumgart led Clarinda’s enjoyable night at the plate with three hits and four RBIs.
“I was trying to get as many RBIs as I could and get the ball in play,” Baumgart said. “He wasn’t trying to do too much. They made some early mistakes and we fed off of that.”
“He had a good night,” Eberly said of Baumgart. “That’s what he’s been doing all year. I think he can hit at any level.”
Cooper Neal, hitless, had two RBIs, while Justus Fine drove in two runs and a hit for Clarinda. Neal, Baumgart, Tadyn Brown and Ronnie Weidman each scored two runs.
Backed by an efficient offense, sophomore Creighton Tuzzio racked up the win on the mound. Tuzzio used the support of the early run and leaned on his defense to allow only three hits with one walk and struck out scoreless in five innings.
Tuzzio’s blue-collar exit in the slump came in his first postseason appearance.
“I was thinking about throwing strikes,” Tuzzio said. “I knew I had guys behind me that would make plays.”
“He’s a cool young man,” Eberly said. “He wants the ball in this atmosphere. He knew he would relish the opportunity to be on the mound. He calmed his nerves and threw for contact. Once he did that, it was an easy night for him.”
The win has Clarinda one win away from something they’ve never done before: back-to-back appearances in state tournaments.
“It’s exciting to be where we are on our show,” Eberly said. “Guys are hungry. Hopefully, we’ll go out there and play relaxed in the substate.”
Clarinda draws foe Hawkeye Ten Kuemper Catholic in a sub-state final Tuesday night in Council Bluffs on KMA-FM 99.1.
The Cardinals swept the regular season doubleheader on June 27 (10-0 and 3-2).
“We’re going to focus on ourselves,” Eberly said. “If we perform the way we’re capable of, we’ll give ourselves a chance in any game.”
Andrew Kellar drove in Treynor’s only run with a hit, and AJ Schiltz and Brady Coffman also had hits. Treynor ends his season at 15-11.
Coffman, Schiltz, first baseman Kaden Snyder, center fielder Payton Chapman and backups Ashton Lander and Grady McKern played their last game on Saturday.
Check out the full interviews with Tuzzio, Baumgart and Coach Eberly below.
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