116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MOUNT VERNON – Kole Hinrichsen wouldn’t normally start a midweek game.
When his Saturday start ended after just two innings, Cornell College Coach Seth Wing realized he could make the quick turnaround for another outing. The right-handed sophomore looked his best on short rest.
Hinrichsen tossed a complete-game shutout, allowing just three hits in a 6-0 victory over Grinnell in a Midwest Conference baseball game Wednesday night at Ash Park Field. The Rams won their second straight game, improving to 11-18 overall but 8-7 in the conference.
Hinrichsen struck out 10 without a walk for his third win this season. A huge rebound from the weekend, recording the Rams’ first complete-game shutout in more than two years.
“I just tried to focus on the game ahead,” Hinrichsen said. “The past is the past. I tried to focus on challenging the hitters.”
Poise and concentration are keys for the former Washington, Iowa, prep. Wing said his demeanor on the mound has a big impact on his success. It helped with bouncing back with the gem Wednesday, keeping Cornell’s chances for postseason play alive.
“No moment is too big for him,” Wing said. “He’s so calm and collected. You wouldn’t know if he was throwing a no-hitter or getting shelled. He’s just steady and that’s what makes him good.”
Wing said last season they recognized his talent, but didn’t have a season for progress. He praised pitching coach Scott Shulista for Hinrichsen’s development.
“He settled in,” Wing said. “He had command of three pitches tonight. He was able to locate. When you can locate your fastball like that and being able to throw your breaking ball for a strike on any count … it really keeps the hitters on their toes. They don’t know what’s coming.”
After working out of a jam in the second, stranding the bases loaded, Hinrichsen dominated through the eighth. He had two separate stretches of seven straight retired batters. He sat down 11 straight from the end of the second to the beginning of the sixth.
“We had an error in the inning with two outs,” Hinrichsen said. “I was just trying to pick up my teammate. Try to get off the field and minimize it, if I can. Luckily, we got out of it.”
Hinrichsen seemed to remain strong as the game progressed, fanning the first two batters in the seventh. He felt comfortable and in control for his first complete game.
“It means a lot,” Hinrichsen said. “I’m always wanting to go nine innings, go the distance, but my pitch count is always too high and I get pulled because of it.
“After the seventh inning, Wing came over and told me to finish it. I just wanted to take it one inning at a time. We got there.”
The Rams provided a three-run cushion in the top of the third. Tommy Jones reached on a walk and advanced to third on a Caleb Sass double to left. Both scored when Peyton Berthel reached on an error. Berthel also scored on an error.
They padded their lead with three in the top of the ninth.
Sass, a former Iowa City High prep, and former Cedar Rapids Kennedy prep Zac Stallman each had two hits for the Rams. Sass entered the game with a team-high 37 hits, hitting at a .339 clip. Stallman played in his 11th game this season and improved his .485 batting average.