Mohawks top Mustangs

Logan Johnson (10) is greeted at the dugout by Moravia baseball teammate Gage Hanes (11) after scoring a run in the seventh inning of a 12-5 win for the Mohawks over Davis County at the West Complex in Bloomfield.

BLOOMFIELD — It's been a season filled with ups and downs for the young Moravia High School baseball team.

Bill Huisman is hopeful the Mohawks are on the upswing at the right time of the year.

Moravia bounced back after dropping an eight-inning thriller at Lynnville-Sully, earning the team's most impressive win yet this season. The Mohawks broke away from Davis County with six runs in the fourth inning, taking advantage of seven errors throughout the night to earn a 12-7 non-conference win at the new West Complex just five days before both teams open district tournament play this weekend.

"You can't hardly beat baseball when you're playing well and having a good time," Huisman said. "Getting thumped around and not playing well is hard to do every night. It bothers you. It bothers everybody. When you've got things going and the guys are playing hard, having fun, you can live with whatever happens."

Moravia (13-14) never trailed in their first visit to Davis County's brand new baseball facility. The Mohawks put runners on base in six of the seven innings against the Mustangs, jumping out to a three-run lead in the second inning scoring the first two runs of the game without a hit.

"This place is awesome. It's crazy," Moravia senior Ethan Martin said. "The lights are so bright out here."

It was Martin who would deliver Moravia's first run-scoring hit in the game, driving in Jackson McDanel with two outs in the second to put the Mohawks on top 3-0. Davis County (11-18) would answer right back tying the game in the bottom of the second as a pair of Mohawk errors aided the rally, which culminated with an RBI triple by Nolan Cremer that scored Drake Hamm before a throwing error on the play allowed Cremer to dash home with the tying run.

"We had some of the old mistakes pop in here early in the game," Huisman said. "We ran into an out in the first inning, which cost us a run. We missed some signs. There were some of the same mistakes that crept in to the game once again, but some of the other stuff is getting better."

Resiliency, in particular, is proving to be a trait the Mohawks are starting to exhibit in the final week of the regular season. Cayden Cook doubled in Shane Helmick in the top of the third, putting Moravia back on top 4-3, before Matthew Seals recorded a pair of strikeouts in the bottom of the inning stranding two Mustang runners in scoring position to keep the Mohawks on top.

"It's the old story of the snowball fight," Huisman said. "The ball was flying all over the place. We weren't getting anybody out, but we came back from that. We've made some defensive changes recently moving Jackson over to second, where he's a natural, and we've moved Matthew Seals over to short where he can take advantage of the foot speed he's added this year. I'd like to think those moves are going make us tough for anyone we come up against in the postseason."

McDanel and Seals would finish the night at those positions after Martin was brought on in the bottom of the fourth to finish what Seals had started on the mound. By that point, however, Moravia had given their pitchers a much bigger cushion as Davis County struggled to get outs in the top of the fourth, allowing eight baserunners to reach while recording just one out on a sacrifice bunt.

Cook drove in two more runs with a single. Helmick added his second straight hit, bringing home Martin and Hanes. By the time Cremer had come on to strike out Logan Johnson and Kaleb Templeton, Moravia had built a 10-3 lead.

"It's all about stepping up and showing a bigger school and a pretty good team what we can do," Cook said. "It feels good to come in here and beat these good teams. I think we've stepped up our game a little bit."

Huisman felt that Moravia really stepped it up in a losing effort on Monday at Lynnville-Sully. Hanes pitched six straight scoreless innings after the Hawks took a 2-0 lead in the first, allowing the Mohawks to fight back and force extra innings even taking a 3-2 lead in the eighth before Lynnville-Sully walked off with a 4-3 win that seemingly energized both teams.

"The kids were coming off the field telling me that they've never had so much fun playing the game," Huisman said. "You could tell they were having a great time playing well and being in the game against a very strong club. They had some more fun tonight. There might have been a little bit of struggle here and there, but you could tell by the time it was over they boys were back to having fun. They were in the dugout bouncing around."

While Moravia opens Class 1A district tournament play against Burlington-Notre Dame on Saturday at Sigourney, Davis County will host Central Lee in a 2A district opener. Mustang head coach Todd White hopes his team can turn things around by this weekend if Davis County hopes to earn another week on the diamond together this summer.

"I wish I knew what the right button was to push. We just need to go back to work and do the best we can do," White said. "That's about where we're at."

— Scott Jackson can be reached at sjackson@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.

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