CEDAR RAPIDS — Coe’s Zach Kammin remembered what it was like to bat on cold days.
So, when the Kohawk ace took the mound with the temperature about 40 degrees and a sharp 25 to 35 mile per hour wind at his back, he knew just how to make opposing batters miserable.
“I used to bat in high school,” said Kammin, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound junior from Woodstock, Ill. “I would hate hitting pitches inside, because your hands would get that stinging and be numb.
“We tried to work a lot inside. We just tried to jam them and get them uncomfortable.”
Kammin threw six scoreless innings, helping 18th-ranked Coe down Buena Vista, 4-0, in the opener of an American Rivers Conference three-game series Friday at Bill Quinby Field of Daniels Park.
The elements weren’t typical for most baseball games, but the Kohawks were able to scrape together a few runs for their 10th straight victory.
“We told them to make sure you grind it out,” Coe Coach Steve Cook said. “Make sure to take care of the little things, play defense, which we did really well (Friday), and found a way to win.”
The conditions didn’t seem to bother Kammin, who improved to 6-1 and lowered his earned-run average to 2.61. He said he pitched on a colder day with stronger winds against Central as a freshman. The key was to maintain his mechanics, return to the dugout to stay warm and get loose quickly when he was back on the mound.
“You just work with what you’ve got,” said Kammin, who struck out three to give him 43 in 41 1/3 innings this season. “I didn’t really have much of my off-speed, so it was a lot of fastball (and) slider. You just have to throw strikes and get people out.”
The Kohawks lead the A-R-C with a 2.55 ERA and have committed a league-low 19 errors after another mistake-free effort. Kammin has been a leader for Coe and was removed as a precaution due to conditions. T.J. Deardorff earned his first save with three innings of relief.
“He’s the guy we’ve gone to and he pitched really well,” Cook said. “We kind of knew what our game plan was going in that we were hoping he’d get us to that point and then we feel good about our bullpen with T.J. and other guys.”
Pitchers received all the support needed in the first. Jacob Burns ripped a double to right, chasing home Jordan Kaplan, who slid just under a high tag for a 1-0 lead. Coe added another in the fifth on Kaplan’s groundout that drove in Jacob Henry.
Pinch-hitter Nolan Weber provided some insurance with a two-run single in the eighth, scoring Cam Frazier and Nolan Arp.
Coe sits atop the conference with a 12-1 record and is 22-2 overall, sticking to a familiar formula.
“Any time you can pitch and play defense, which is what we’ve been doing well,” Cook said. “We did it again (Friday).”
Coe faces Buena Vista (12-13, 5-5) in a doubleheader Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m.
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