116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Effort and heart have always been on display.
Unfortunately, Cedar Rapids Jefferson hasn’t parlayed them into many victories this season. The J-Hawks have continued to work and give their all.
“It would have been so easy for them to give up given the season we’ve been having,” Jefferson Coach Terry Schneekloth said. “Night in and night out, they have been giving their best and not giving in to anybody.”
Jefferson demonstrated that resolve Thursday night, receiving pinch-hit RBI singles from Jacob Cross and Cal Schulte in a five-run eighth inning to defeat host Cedar Rapids Washington, 8-3, in a Mississippi Valley Conference baseball game.
“It’s huge, man,” Jefferson’s Ryne Chamberlin said. “We’ve had some ups and downs. Some of us had been struggling. The win got our heads up to get the next one.”
Jefferson (3-22, 2-17) trailed for the first five innings. It managed to tie the game, 3-3, in the top of the sixth on a two-out, two-run single from Chamberlin.
Both teams were able to avoid giving up runs in the seventh, including a key double play by Jefferson when Washington had two on and none out.
The J-Hawks erupted in the eighth. Logan Willman led off with a single and advanced on a sacrifice bunt and an error. Chamberlin loaded the bases with one out.
Schneekloth went to his bench, bringing Cross in to pinch hit. Cross had just one RBI coming into the game. He was expected to play but in a different role.
“Coach told me to be ready to go, but he told me to be ready for defense,” Cross said. “Honestly, I was not expecting to be a pinch hitter at all. I knew I had to step up for my team and just hit a line drive.”
Cross ripped a base hit to left, scoring pinch-runner Derek Klink and Zac Henderson.
Schulte stepped in and delivered a similar shot that scored Chamberlin and pinch-runner Owen Rustand to make it 7-3. Dylan McVeigh’s RBI groundout provided insurance for Jefferson to close it out with Rustand in the bottom of the inning.
The J-Hawks overcame some recent injuries. Josiah Szabo was one of three starters to return Thursday. McVeigh played the field for the first time in weeks, allowing Henderson to move into the designated hitter spot.
“We’re starting to get healthy,” Schneekloth said. “We’re starting to get our depth.
“You saw it tonight when I brought in some pinch hitters who came through and it shows how deep of a bench and the heart these guys have.”
Washington (6-19, 1-10) was led by Jabari Dobbs. He gave the Warriors a 2-0 lead with a two-run single in the second inning. Dobbs also started on the mound, retiring the first 10 J-Hawk batters in order, striking out seven in 5 2/3 innings. Reid Ortiz added a solo home run for Washington in the fifth.