The Crowder Roughriders dominated the Maple Woods Monarchs on Thursday with 15-2 and 12-2 run-rule victories at Roughrider Field.
In the opener, Crowder scored 11 runs in the fourth inning and the ‘Riders connected on a home run and five doubles among their 11 total hits. Maple Woods hurt itself with seven walks and five errors.
In the nightcap, Crowder scored three in the second, two in the fourth, four in the fifth, and ended the game with three in the sixth. Colten Nix swung a big stick with two home runs, a double, four hits overall, and four runs scored. The ‘Riders hit four homers and four doubles in the contest.
Crowder improved to 19-5 overall and 6-0 Region 16, and the ‘Riders have won seven in a row entering Saturday’s doubleheader against Maple Woods after their 11-0 loss to Neosho County.
“We did a better job,” Crowder head coach Travis Lallemand said. “Early on, I thought we scuffled a bit, but we did a better job of being aggressive with runners in scoring position. When we’ve struggled, we’ve had a lot of walks with runners in scoring position. In those walks, yeah, I get it, it’s good at-bats, but when you’ve got runners set up, it’s time to go swing the bat.
“After the Neosho County game a couple weeks ago, that’s exactly what we met about. We didn’t even practice the day after, we talked about our plate appearances with runners in scoring position. Walks are awesome, but at the same time, we’re getting some good pitches to hit and we need to be aggressive when the situations present themselves.”
Opening game starter Zach Jackson improved to 6-0 on the season with a 3.53 ERA. In Thursday’s start, he allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits over five innings with seven strikeouts and no walks. Jackson’s already reached half of his team-leading wins total from last season.
Meanwhile, in the second game, starter Aaron Ashby continued to be a combination of the great, the bad, and the ugly, allowing two runs (both earned) on three hits over six innings. Ashby struck out nine but walked seven.
The ‘Riders committed just a single error over the 11 innings.
“I hate to use the word maintain,” Lallemand said. “We’ve got to continue to get better at some things. Ashby was OK there. I told him in the dugout, I said ‘If OK gets us six innings, then I think I’ll take that with our bullpen.’ We always have to have that growth mindset. If you have a fixed mindset in this game, you’re in trouble.
“If we keep the growth mindset and the kids stay hungry, this could be a year where maybe we have an opportunity at the end again, we’ll see. Time will tell, but I think what will lead us to that is a growth mindset. We get better each day … obviously, there’s a few staples in the lineup, but we’re using all those guys and all of our arms. Everybody’s going to have a role and I think that keeps everybody interested. It’s a fun group.”
In the opener, Kobe Morris led the way with three hits, plus two runs scored and two RBI. Quinn Cherry homered and doubled, scored three runs, and drove in four. Drew Reilly drove in three runs. Frielin Cabrera had no hits but picked up a pair of RBI on sacrifice flies. Luke Price hit a two-run double. Eight of the nine players in the lineup had a hit and scored a run.
In the nightcap, in addition to Nix’s work, Cabrera had three hits, Morris and Price each had two, and Cherry and Price each drove in two runs.
All told, Crowder had 14 extra base hits on the day.
Maple Woods dropped to 1-13 overall and 0-6 Region 16 with Thursday’s losses.
CROWDER 15, MAPLE WOODS 2 (5 innings)
Maple Woods 100 01 — 2 5 5
Crowder 211 (11)X — 15 11 1
Colton Divine, Sam Goodman (4) and Rego. Zach Jackson and Brinson Williams. WP: Jackson. LP: Divine. E: Jackson Berke 3, Tyler Eckman, Chandler Dunn; Cooper King. HR: Mitch Chapman; Quinn Cherry. 2B: Tyler Duncan, Luke Price, Colten Nix, Kobe Morris, Cherry. SF: Frielin Cabrera 2. HBP; Duncan, Cherry. LOB: Maple Woods 4, Crowder 8.
CROWDER 12, MAPLE WOODS 2 (6 innings)
Maple Woods 002 000 — 2 3 2
Crowder 030 243 — 12 14 0
Dante Nelson, Connor Lyon (5), Austin Autry (6) and Rego. Aaron Ashby and Samuel Chaput. WP: Ashby. LP: Nelson. E: Dante Nelson, Cole Nichols. HR: Colten Nix 2, Chaput, Quinn Cherry. 2B: Nichols; Frielin Cabrera 2, Luke Price, Nix. SF: Price, Cherry. LOB: Maple Woods 5, Crowder 8.