CEDAR RAPIDS — Three at-bats. Three triples. Jack Lux may have done it all on just three swings.
The junior’s trifecta of three-baggers and three RBIs helped power fifth-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier to a 10-0 victory in five innings over Vinton-Shellsburg in a Class 3A District 5 semifinal game Friday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“It was fun hitting the ball well,” Lux said. “We all hit well … when you’re hitting like that it’s hard to lose. We played well overall.”
Lux had a triple down the right-field line in the first. He helped break the game open with a two-run triple to right center in the three-run third. Lux added another RBI triple to center and scored on Myles Butkowski’s RBI groundout, making it 10-0 in the bottom of the fourth.
“It’s cool to see,” Xavier Coach Dan Halter said. “Obviously, when you play in a big park triple opportunities come more into play.
“We got the opportunity and have a kid that can drive the ball and run. It was fun to see him get going and that really got us energized.”
A fiery and competitive nature fuels Lux, making him a bit of an emotional leader. The Saints rely on the spark he can provide in the heart of the batting order and in the middle infield.
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“He’s a little ball of energy,” Halter said. “He’s always going and talking. His energy never drops. It was big for us tonight to get us jumpstarted.”
Lux has a penchant for extra-base hits. He had 21 regular-season hits and more than half were for multiple bases, including two triples and four home runs.
“It makes it pretty easy,” Lux said with a laugh. “You still have to earn it. I think we did a good job of that all night.”
Xavier (14-4) tallied a total of five triples. Nick Banowetz had a two-run triple in the fourth that was opened by Nick Fischer’s triple. Banowetz finished with three RBIs.
The game lasted a lightning-quick 59 minutes thanks to Saints starter Logan McDermott, who gave up just two hits after retiring the first nine batters in order. He threw just 55 pitches, including 40 strikes, for his third win of the season. He faced just one batter over the minimum and allowed only one runner to reach second.
“He came out and was pumping strikes,” Halter said. “When your pitcher is doing that, it keeps the game moving, keeps the defense on their toes and we were efficient from that side of things.”
Xavier will face Benton Community on Monday. The Saints are the defending state champions, but many key pieces from last year’s squad graduated. The current players are ready to carve their own niche.
“Scratch everything from last year,” Lux said. “We’re a new team from last year. We haven’t accomplished anything, so we have the mindset that we have to prove ourselves every night. We’ve done a great job of that, but one game at a time.”
Quin Cornell and Wes Mott had base hits for the Vikings (0-20).
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