TROY MILLS — Cascade entered Friday as one of three undefeated prep baseball teams left in the state.
Reaching the weekend with the goose egg in the loss column wasn’t an easy task, facing the aces for three ranked opponents in a five-day stretch.
The Class 2A top-ranked Cougars remained unbeaten with an 8-2 victory over 1A No. 3 North Linn, spoiling Dollar Hot Dog Night on Friday at North Linn. Cascade improved to 21-0 this season and defeated 2A powers No. 3 Wilton and No. 2 Iowa City Regina this week.
“We could have easily have been 0-3, but we’re 3-0 this week,” Cascade Coach Roamn Hummel said. ”That just says a lot about the competitiveness to a lot of the guys on our team to say ‘We’re here. We’re going to win.’ “
Cascade faced all-stater Jake Hilmer, following a 9-1 win Monday over Regina’s leading pitcher Mitchell Gahan and a 2-0 triumph against Wilton’s Jared Townsend. The Cougars had eight hits, including five for six runs off Hilmer.
“We have a lot of confidence at the plate,” said Brock Simon, who helped lead Cascade with two hits and two runs. “It doesn’t matter who is out there. We believe we can hit.”
The Cougars pounced early with three runs in the first, loading the bases on a walk, an infield single and a hit batsman. Logan Otting delivered a two-run single, chasing home Haris Hoffman and Simon. Gannon O’Brien scored on a passed ball.
“It’s big to get on them right away,” Simon said. “It takes the other team down.”
Cascade capitalized on a few Lynx miscues. Simon led off the third with a single and scored when Blake Simon’s liner to center was misplayed. An error led to another run in the fifth. O’Brien smacked a triple and scored when Otting’s grounder was mishandled by a drawn-in infield.
The Cougars tallied two more in the sixth with some help. Derek Koppes singled and scored on pinch-hitter John Gadient’s double. Gadient circled the bases thanks to a pair of errant throws.
“Good teams take advantage of miscues, walks and things like that,” Hummel said. “We’ve been doing that the entire year. It’s been good for us.”
Reid Rausch added an RBI single in the third, helping Cascade pull away after North Linn pulled within one on Hilmer’s sacrifice fly in the first and Sean Boardman’s bases-loaded walk in the second. Ryan Miller had a hit and scored for the Lynx (24-3).
Otting and Blake Simon stifled the Lynx, forcing them to strand 10 runners on base. Simon threw 5 1/3 hitless innings of relief, coming in with bases loaded and getting the final out in the second.
“He threw strikes,” Hummel said. “He pounded the zone against them. That’s what you have to do.”
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