After thumping Champlin Park on Monday by a score of 15-3, the Coon Rapids baseball team increased its win streak to six in a row.
Since starting the season 0-2, the Cardinals have rounded into form with wins over ranked programs from Andover, Elk River, Centennial and now Champlin Park in perhaps its most convincing victory of the season.
One area of concern for the Cardinals was run production averaging 3.5 per game, which is one of the lowest in the Northwest Suburban. The Cardinals put many concerns to rest as nearly everyone got a hit against Champlin Park, many got two.
“We’ve been hitting the ball a lot better,” said head coach Jerry Coe. “Earlier in the season we were really struggling. We weren’t hitting like I thought we could. I think we’re turning the corner. We’ll see where we’re at by next week.”
Alex Wojciechowski scored three runs and hit three RBI. Alex Aase was 4-for-5 with two RBI and a double. Jake Sederstrom was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a double.
“You get 20 hits against anybody is a lot of hits,” Coe said.
Cody Herrmann got the win throwing five innings allowing two earned runs off four hits and four walks. He struck out five.
Pitchers Herrmann (0.70 ERA), Wojciechowski (1.91 ERA) and Aase (2.38 ERA) have kept opponents at bay allowing 2.5 runs per game, one of the lowest in the metro. Logan Shore hasn’t disappointed either leading the team with a .345 batting average at the plate and 38 strikeouts and 0.81 ERA on the mound.
“Pitching has been steady all year,” Coe said. “With four pretty good starters. When you play this many games in a short amount of time.”
Shore aggravated a back injury against Elk River May 1 and he hasn’t played since.
“We’re hoping he can play by the end of the week,” Coe said.
Coe said perhaps the biggest boost from the win streak is the attitude.
“When things aren’t going well, people look around for excuses,” Coe said. “But I haven’t heard much of that lately. In this game more of the mental part of that counts. You react in a lot of other sports, but in baseball you have a lot of time to think. When you do something wrong, it takes a while to correct it.”
Playoffs are scheduled to begin on May 24. Coe feels Maple Grove is the team to beat in Section 5AAA. The Cardinals will play Maple Grove on Monday.
“I don’t think they’re as good as last year,” Coe said. “They don’t make mistakes, but other teams seem to do that when they play them. We weren’t full strength the first time we saw them. I’m anxious to see how we play them now.”
The Andover baseball team has been on a tear this season. The Huskies are averaging more than a run more at the plate and cut its runs allowed average by more then a run from a season ago.
Even after a tough start in a brutal Northwestern Suburban Conference that features six teams that have spent time ranked in the top 20 in Class AAA, Andover can now count itself as one of them.
After starting the season 1-3, which included a three-game losing streak against Blaine, Coon Rapids and Maple Grove all by two runs or less, Andover had an eight-game winning streak stretching from April 19 to May 3.
The stretch featured all kinds of games from holding off a surging Centennial team 18-17 on April 26; shutting out Elk River, Edina, Anoka and Park Center; and late-inning heroics against Champlin Park and Osseo.
The Huskies haven’t gone on a run like this since late 2009 when it won 10-of-11 from late April to the end of May into playoffs.
Andover’s efforts are being noticed as the Huskies were ranked No. 20 in Class AAA by the latest coaches poll thanks to defeating ranked teams from Elk River, Centennial, Edina and Champlin Park.
The Huskies were in full form against Edina on May 3 shutting the team out 5-0 with the shutout coming from Kyle Gausman, who had eight strikeouts. It was a team effort with Brent Stong leading at the play going 2-for-2 with an RBI and a double.
Maple Grove, one of the top-ranked teams in the state, put an end to the fun on Monday handing Andover a 3-1 loss.
Pitching has been a strong area for the Huskies with twins Brent and Nate Stong throwing strikes. With help from Gausman and an efficient defense, Andover allows on average less than four runs per game.
Run production hasn’t been a problem either with regular starters Gausman, Nick Weeks, Brady Johnson, Davis Johnson, Brent Stong, Tyler Evans and Wade Satzinger all with batting averages north of .300.
Andy Rogers is at firstname.lastname@example.org