Typically, when a baseball team wins a game via a walk-off, it means that it’s been a thrilling affair. A game-ending RBI to break a tie or a come-from-behind home run to stun a team on the game’s final pitch are the types of games one never forgets.
Central Lee Baseball’s walk-off victory over the Cardinal Comets Tuesday afternoon in Donnellson was nothing of the sort. No one on the bench, in the crowd, or on the field was surprised when the two teams exited the field in the bottom of the 5th inning at Central Lee High School Tuesday.
It was, after all, an odd way to end a game in the first place. Hawks senior left fielder Sam Hirner stole third base with two outs when the throw down skipped wide of the foul line and into left field allowing Hirner to score easily.
That’s how it ended, with a 10-0 Hawks victory over a Cardinal Comets team that entered the game with a 4-1 record. It was the Hawks second consecutive mercy rule victory as well as their second straight shutout after pounding West Burlington 19-0 Friday.
The lopsided victory started in the 2nd inning when Freshman 2nd baseman Alex Sandoval blasted his first career home run, a solo shot, to put the Hawks up 1-0.
The Hawks would continue the onslaught with an RBI single from Junior TJ Stutes in the 2nd before three consecutive doubles from Hirner, KJ Show, and Jadon Hawk closed out the 2nd with Central Lee holding a 6-0 lead.
That was more than enough run support as Senior ace Waylon Weirather required only 71 pitches to shut out the Comets through 5 innings to gain his 2nd victory of the young season.
Hawks Head Coach Shane Weirather had very little to coach his team up on as he felt they played a strong all-around game. The ball coach stated that his team is thriving thanks in no small part to a strong group of upperclassmen leaders that have put in the work.
“The Juniors and Seniors on this team lead. That is a big reason why we’ve gotten the buy in throughout the team. We’ve got a facility in Montrose with two batting cages and two mounds and in February I had 12 to 14 kids each week showing up.”
Weirather also feels this team, which is off to a hot 4-1 start, is composed of kids who don’t view baseball as a season to pass between the spring and fall.
“This group hasn’t had a lot of success in other sports like football and basketball. They’re baseball kids. They think the game and if you watch they talk the game. They want to play ball first and foremost.”
Mix in a talented freshman in Sandoval that leads the team in RBI’s and you’ve got a roster that runs about 10 deep.
“Alex is a rare kid that played JV for us as an 8th grader and he comes from a baseball family. His dad is a baseball guy that helps us out and he holds Alex to a very high standard, probably higher than other players.”
The goal for Weirather this year starts with a conference championship and he knows that’s a tough bar to reach, especially in the Southeast Iowa Superconference’s South Division. Burlington-Notre Dame sits undefeated at 3-0 and fellow 4-1 conference foe Van Buren handed the Hawks their only loss last Thursday by a score of 7-1.
Nonetheless, a big 10-0 victory early in the season over an upstart Cardinal team should bode well for Weirather’s team. And there’s no denying that Central Lee feels this is their year.
Next up, the Hawks could be in for another shortened game, as they host a winless Winfield-Mount Union team Wednesday in Donnellson at 7PM.