Prep Baseball

CCA baseball begins to shine under a new head coach with college and pro experience

Clippers sweep Solon in Thursday doubleheader

Clear Creek Amana Clippers
Clear Creek Amana Clippers

TIFFIN — Name the only prep baseball coach in the state to have won over 400 games at the junior-college level. That was at Muscatine Community College.

Name the only prep baseball coach in the state to be a pitching coach at three Division I schools. They would be Iowa, Iowa State and Indiana State.

Name the only prep baseball coach in the state to have worked as a professional scout. That was with the Miami Marlins most recently last season.

It’s actually all the same guy. Nick Zumsande’s baseball resume is quite unique, especially for the high school level.

Zumsande is in his first season at Clear Creek Amana, the second time in his long career he has been a head coach in high school. You had to prod him to get him to tell you about the first time: in 1984 right out of college at Bondurant-Farrar.

“I just thought this was a good opportunity,” said Zumsande, who was relieved of his area scout duties by the Marlins after last season. “I’m not real keen on the direction of pro ball right now. I thought ‘Well, I’d like to coach. Let’s try this.’”

Zumsande, a Norway native, lives in Fairfax, so geographically it’s a good fit. He also gives private lessons to kids over the winter.

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His Clippers club is sailing along just fine as we get to the end of the second week of this truncated season, sweeping Solon in a doubleheader Thursday night, 8-3 and 5-4 in nine innings. CCA is 7-2 overall, 7-1 against Wamac Conference opponents.

Solon dropped to 5-4, 3-3.

“Obviously, it’s been a challenge with a lack of practice,” Zumsande said. “The fact is the guys have responded real well, they are quick learners. That’s not to say we don’t have a lot more things to work on. But I’ve told them all year, I want to be the best ballclub we can be at the end of the year. So it’s a gradual process.”

Ben Swails’ RBI single up the middle with one out in the ninth won Game 2 for Clear Creek Amana. Brock Reade reached with one away on an error, stole second and went to third on Grant Jensen’s infield hit toward the second-base hole.

After cleanup hitter T.J. Bollers, the recent University of Wisconsin football commit, was intentionally walked to lead the bases, Swails came through with a sharp single past tough-luck losing pitcher Lucas Walker.

“I was looking first-pitch fastball, and he jammed me inside a little bit,” Swails said. “I looked for that, and he threw me another one right down the middle, and I jammed it right back.”

CCA had 13 hits in the opener, including three-hit games from Jensen and winning pitcher Reade. Jensen came in with a scorching .500 batting average, actually improving it with a 3-for-4 performance.

Bollers had a pair of hits and an RBI and was intentionally walked once. He has three home runs in CCA’s first nine games.

Lefty Reade went the entire way, giving up just three hits and striking out 11 to improve his record to 2-0. Solon is 5-4, 3-3 in the Wamac West.

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Solon scored four runs on four hits in the top of the first inning of the nightcap. Clear Creek Amana came back to tie it with four runs in the third on five hits.

Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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