116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Cascade’s offense suffered a bit of a mid-season slump.
Cougars Coach Roamn Hummel tried to break out of it, so he opted to change how the team approach batting practice. He introduced a new routine, trading the quantity of swings at balls piped over the center of the plate for quality simulated at-bats.
“Hitting is really hard to do,” Hummel said. “Sometimes with our batting practice it’s just volume. You’re throwing the ball down the middle. It’s easy. They know what’s coming.
“We do this once or twice a week (now). We don’t do it every day, but once we started doing that we saw a change in a lot of the guys.”
Cascade continued its hot hitting Wednesday. The Cougars tallied 14 hits and won their seventh straight game with an 18-8 victory over host Cedar Rapids Washington.
Every starter and 11 total Cougars scored at least one run and all but one starter had at least one hit in their regular-season finale. During the recent win streak, Cascade has scored 81 runs and 76 hits, matching its single-game high in runs this season against the Warriors.
“We hit really well the last two weeks,” Hummel said. “I thought we hit the ball really hard the first three innings, for sure.
“That was as good as we’ve looked up and down the lineup. That is the thing you want. That type of confidence. That type of hitting to carry over into the postseason. Hopefully, that’s what we get.”
The Cougars (18-9) were in control throughout, building a 12-0 lead after three with five runs in the first and third innings. Kaleb Topping led the way with three hits in his first three at-bats and walked once. He had RBI singles in the second and third.
Topping has come on strong recently.
“He was really good for us the other night against Anamosa, too,” Hummel said. “He came up with some huge hits in that doubleheader. He hit really well again here.”
Cade Rausch drove in five runs, increasing his season total to 20. He had a two-run base hit in the opening inning and a run-scoring single in the two-run fifth.
“I felt like our 5-6-7-8 guys have been phenomenal for us lately,” Hummel said. “Usually, you get your production from the top and middle of your order, but I think the last couple games those are the guys who have seemed to pound out hits and come up with a lot of big hits for us.”
Washington (9-26) rallied to avoid the mercy rule. The Warriors tried to battle back, scoring one in the fourth and five in the fifth. Jack Rogers led Washington with three hits, including two doubles, two runs and an RBI. Lane Baxter reached all four at-bats, going 1-for-1 with an RBI for the Warriors.
Cascade awaits the winner of a district opener between Anamosa and Clayton Ridge. The Cougars will have their longest break of the season, waiting five days before Tuesday’s playoff game.
They will keep the new approach to batting practice.
“We will continue to do that all week,” said Hummel. “We have to make sure we stay competitive at the plate, as well as in the field and on the mound.”