Baxter baseball claims third straight win after tough start

·4 min read

Jun. 27—BAXTER — Baxter's baseball team started the season 1-10 and dropped eight games in a row during that stretch.

But led by Jake Travis, the Bolts are flipping the script and turning their season around.

Travis pitched another gem on the mound against Clarksville on Wednesday, the Bolts got timely hits at the plate and the defense was solid in an 8-0 home win during an Iowa Star Conference cross-division matchup.

The victory is Baxter's third straight and it has won four of its past five games.

"It feels good. We came together as a team, had some timely hits and Jake Travis kept his composure on the mound, threw a lot of strikes and let his defense make plays," Baxter head baseball coach Brett Slight said. "I couldn't ask for anything more. It was a good day, and I am super proud of my team."

The Bolts (5-11) opened the scoring in the second inning with a pair of runs but did so it without a hit.

Travis was hit by a pitch to open the frame and Jalen Porter and Nate McMinamen drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Perrin Sulzie then hit into a fielder's choice but Travis scored on an error.

Cael Shepley's RBI groundout scored McMinamen to make it 2-0.

The Bolts scored three runs in the fifth and sixth to pull away for good.

In the fifth, Shepley led off with a single and took second on another error. Rory Heer singled to put two runners on base and Shepley and Heer both scored on Ben Richardson's two-run single. Richardson scored on a wild pitch to push the lead to 5-0.

In the sixth, Clarksville committed four errors and Sulzie tallied a double and Heer collected an RBI single for the Bolts' lone hits. The Indians committed six errors in the game.

The Bolts finished with seven hits, led by two each from Heer and Sulzie. Heer also had one run, one RBI, one walk and one stolen base.

The other hits came from Richardson, Shepley and Cody Damman. Richardson scored one run, had two RBIs and walked once and Shepley added two runs and two RBIs.

Baxter drew four walks and Travis was hit by a pitch and scored one run. The other two walks were taken by Porter and McMinamen, who also scored one run each.

Travis pitched all seven innings and used 88 pitches to complete the game. He struck out seven, walked two and hit one while scattering nine hits.

"The past four of five games have gone well," Slight said. "We are playing well right now. These guys know they are a good team."

Travis pitched around trouble in the third after allowing back-to-back singles. He got two ground balls back to the mound to strand runners on second and third base.

Clarksville (4-10) put two runners in scoring position in the fourth, but Travis got the final out on a pop out to Damman, the Bolts catcher.

The Bolts' defense helped Travis out a lot. Damman threw out a potential base stealer in the first and then got Baxter out of the top of the fifth with a double play.

Baxter recorded double plays to end the sixth and seventh, too.

"Those are huge. Just knowing that plays like that can be made is big for a pitcher," Slight said. "Just throw strikes and let the defense work. Those were big time plays."

Travis improved to 2-1 and both of those wins have come in the past five games. He also recorded one of his two saves during that stretch.

At the plate, he's batting .500 with 10 hits coming in the past five games.

Baxter 7, Earlham 4

EARLHAM — Andrew Klemme went the distance on the mound and 12 hits at the plate was enough support during a 7-4 road win over Earlham on Tuesday.

The Cardinals (5-18) led 2-0 after three innings, but Baxter plated one in the fourth, four in the fifth and two in the sixth to rally back for the win. The Bolts took advantage of six errors by Earlham.

Richardson and Travis each had three hits to lead the offense and Damman, Porter and Klemme collected two hits.

"I'm super confident in our pitching right now. But we are working on our approaches at the plate," Slight said. "We need to be aggressive and not keep the bat on our shoulders. We want to attack fast balls and don't chase balls out of the zone."

Travis doubled, scored two runs and stole one base, Richardson scored once and had one steal and Damman scored one run, had three RBIs and swiped one base.

Porter stole two bases and scored one run and Heer crossed home plate once.

Klemme tallied two hits and two runs at the plate and threw a seven-inning complete game on the mound. He allowed four runs — one earned — on seven hits with three strikeouts.

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