ELDON — Chad Scott has been coaching the Warriors of Van Buren for over a decade, leading the baseball program to unprecedented heights.
The baseball roots of Scott, however, can be traced back to Wapello County where both he and his brother Rick grew up learning the game from a young age. Perhaps that made Monday’s win even more special for Chad Scott, who got the best of the Cardinal Comets coached by older brother Rick for the second time this season and third time in four meetings.
Jaxon Thomas tossed a two-hit, complete-game shutout for the Warriors in an 8-0 victory, keeping the hopes alive for a Southeast Iowa Superconference south division title. Van Buren (11-5, 10-2 SEI south) needs some help from the Comets to win the outright title with Central Lee (9-1 SEI south) visiting Cardinal on Wednesday while also facing Burlington-Notre Dame (9-2 SEI south) this week.
“I think for Christmas I might get Rick a broom,” Chad Scott joked. “We came in off one of our worst games of the year at Burlington-Notre Dame (a 13-0 loss last Thursday). Things just kind of fell apart, so I’m proud to see the guys bounce back and play as well as they did in our last conference game.
“Maybe Rick can go get one from Central Lee and help us out a little bit.”
Cardinal (12-6, 6-5 SEI south) put just seven runners on base against Thomas, who struck out six batters on the way to his fourth pitching win of the season without a loss. The Warriors strung three straight hits together in the third inning to push the first run across the plate before a five-hit rally aided by a pair of Comet errors in the fourth allowed Van Buren to score three times, opening a 4-0 lead.
“The team did not play well. We did not come ready to go,” Rick Scott said of the Comets. “We held our own in the first two innings, then we had some upperclassmen make some errors. Once that happened, the team just fell apart.
“It’s frustrating. It wasn’t the younger guys that made the mistakes. We cannot make plays like that and expect to win as we move into district play.”
For Chad Scott, winning at Cardinal always means a little bit more having grown up in Eldon. Monday night’s game started with a trip down memory lane as wife Sally and son Chris represented the late Jim Courtney, the honorary captain for the game. Courtney coached both Rick and Chad Scott among many other players from Wapello County through the Eldon Babe Ruth and Little League teams.
“I grew up probably five or six houses down from Chris. We all grew up together on Walnut Street,” Chad Scott recalled. “Jim was a big part of my life growing up as it related to baseball. This was back in the day where we all grew up outside either playing wiffle ball, throwing the football around or shooting baskets. I really like what Cardinal is doing with these honorary captains. It was tremendous to see Sally and Chris again.”
Jacob Plecker collected three hits and reached base four times, scoring twice for the Warriors. Caleb Stoltz added three hits, including an RBI single in the sixth before scoring on Tony Davidson’s run-scoring hit to give Thomas an eight-run lead.
“I have a lot of faith in my team both in the field and at the plate,” Thomas said. “When we play like this, I pitch with so much confidence.”
Colby Aschenbrenner singled in the opening inning while Griffin Greiner added a two-out single in the fifth before a sliding catch in left by Davidson robbed Aschenbrenner of a second hit. Cardinal returns to action tonight at Davis County while Van Buren travels to Fort Madison.