CEDAR RAPIDS — Jordan Kaplan has served as a column in Coe’s baseball lineup.
He has been a stable fixture in the field and at the plate for the Kohawks, who find themselves at the top of the Iowa Conference.
“He’s kind of been the glue foe us,” Coe Coach Steve Cook said. “The lineup has changed around him. We’ve had different guys in different slots. We’ve started a bunch of different guys in our infield.
“Through it all, he’s been the consistent guy.”
Kaplan tallied two hits and four RBIs, helping Coe to a 6-0 victory in the nightcap of a doubleheader split against Loras Tuesday on Bill Quinby Field at Daniels Park. The Duhawks won the opener, 3-2, in 10 innings.
Kaplan entered the game with a .500 batting average, ranking fourth nationally in NCAA Division III. The sophomore first baseman finished with three hits in the twinbill and has 42 total this season. He has 15 more than any other Kohawk, leading the team with 25 RBIs as well.
“I’ve really just slowed down the game from an individual standpoint,” Kaplan said. “Last year, as a freshman, I struggled a lot and worked on some stuff in the offseason. I basically told myself to slow the game down and take it one pitch at a time. It’s really helped me.”
Kaplan capped a four-run third inning with a two-run double, reaching base for the 21st straight game and extending his hit streak to five games. He added a two-run single in the fifth for the Kohawks (14-9, 9-2), remaining a game ahead of the Duhawks (19-7, 8-3) for the league lead.
The victory means much more than personal streaks or numbers.
“I don’t think about it,” Kaplan said. “It’s awesome but I’d rather go 1-for-4 or 0-for-4 and the team wins.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
“It’s cool to be doing all that stuff, but I prefer a team victory over any stats.”
An early-season game in Florida proved his growth from a year ago, as he hit line drives in all but one at-bat and showed progress. He gained confidence, learning he could hit to all fields. Kaplan has put things together to become a complete player.
“He’s been the steady guy both defensively and offensively,” Cook said. “He’s been so locked in. He’s really matured a lot. He’s really come a long way.”
Cook said Kaplan earned a lot of playing time last year, recognizing the potential he possessed. He turned that potential into production after an offseason of work. Kaplan played summer baseball, staying in contact with Coe assistant Jacob Waddle, and participated in early-morning weightlifting sessions outside the season.
“Two things work together in baseball,” Cook said. “You get physical work but it also leads to mental work. He felt good about his preparation in the offseason and even back to last summer.
“When you do all that and prepare as well as he did, then it gets your mind right, too.”
Isaac Evans finished with four hits and three runs, including three hits, two runs and an RBI in the nightcap for Coe. Kevin DeLaney and Grant Henning had two hits apiece in the opener.
Coe is scheduled to play a non-conference game at Mount Mercy on Thursday at 5 p.m.
l Comments: (319) 368-8679; email@example.com