CEDAR RAPIDS — Cascade Coach Roamn Hummel knows he has a group of gamers.
Many of his baseball players contributed to the Cougars' Class 2A state basketball title and helped the football program post its first unbeaten regular season en route to the state quarterfinals and a school-record 10 wins.
Hummel has seen that success transfer to the diamond, especially in the last week with two consecutive wins over ranked foes.
“Once they get in between the lines out there that they are going to compete their butts off,” Hummel said. “That is what I’ve seen out of them.”
Haris Hoffman powered 2A top-ranked Cascade from the mound and the plate, helping the Cougars to a 9-1 victory over 2A No. 2 Iowa City Regina on Monday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The Cougars remained unbeaten, improving to 19-0.
Hoffman led Cascade’s balanced 10-hit attack with three hits, adding two runs and an RBI. His performance on the mound was crucial, throwing a complete-game three-hitter with seven strikeouts. Hoffman kept the Regals off balance at the plate after giving up an RBI double to Ryan Schott that scored Ryne Schooley in the bottom of the first.
“I know I’m not going to overpower their guys with my speed because I don’t throw very hard,” Hoffman said. “I know I’ve got good off-speed. We try to work that in.
“Just try to mix it up a lot.”
Cascade has won Hoffman’s last two starts, which came against Cedar Rapids Washington, which is on the cusp of the top 10 in 4A, and the Regals. He also threw two innings of relief in a win over rival and sixth-ranked Dyersville Beckman.
Hummel said Hoffman has battled for the Cougars in each start.
“It just shows what competing out on the mound does and being able to spin a breaking ball can do for you, too,” Hummel said. “That’s what he’s able to do. Throw it for a strike whenever he really wants.”
Timely hits and some uncharacteristic Regina miscues helped Cascade take an early lead and pull away. All nine runs came with two outs. Some of the rallies started with two outs.
Hoffman had an RBI single in the second inning for a 4-1 edge. Brock Simon belted a two-run double in the fourth, extending the lead to 7-1.
“If there are two outs, we don’t get down on each other,” Hoffman said. “We always stay up. Every single at-bat is a brand-new at-bat. 0-0 and 0 outs. We treat everything like that and it works out for us.”
Cascade scored three unearned runs in the first inning. Two consecutive two-out errors brought in the first two runs. With runners on first and third, Reid Rausch got in a rundown between first and second intentionally, allowing Blake Simon to steal home for a 3-0 lead.
Cascade succeeded on a similar play in the third when Rausch was in a pickle long enough to score Gannon O’Brien, who stole home after a leadoff triple. The Cougars scored their final two runs on wild pitches in the seventh.
“We wanted to put pressure on them,” Hummel said. “With two outs, we always want to try to steal a run here and there. We were fortunate that it worked.
“Those things don’t always work all the time and we got two runs out of it (Monday).”
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Regina Coach Jeff Pacha said the Regals have been in an offensive lull the last week. Regina (14-6) has last four straight, scoring five runs over that stretch.
“I think they are pressing,” Pacha said. “That is a very good team and ranked where they are at for a reason. We didn’t give them a show for the team we are.”
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