JEWELL - One error became two. Two turned into three. Three morphed into four ...
It just went on and on and on.
Playing in a heavy downpour at times, the South Hamilton baseball team struggled fielding, gripping and throwing the ball during the early stages of yesterday evening's Heart of Iowa Conference contest against Colfax-Mingo and, ultimately, the errors cost the Hawks dearly in a 7-6 loss.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
South Hamilton junior John Hegland (6) slides into the plate as he attempts to score on a wild pitch in the first inning against Colfax-Mingo yesterday evening in Jewell. Hegland was tagged out by Tigerhawks’ pitcher Caleb Anderson to end the frame, and Colfax-Mingo won the Heart of Iowa Conference contest, 7-6
Colfax-Mingo (8-8, 5-6 HOIC) took advantage of the miscues to score five runs in the initial two innings, and then after South Hamilton (8-10, 4-7 HOIC) rallied to take the lead in the fifth the Tigerhawks again received two gifts that resulted in the tying and winning runs crossing the plate in the sixth.
"It's like I told the guys before the game, the weather is not an excuse," South Hamilton head coach Bret Bell said after his team piled up nine errors. "I still think it was in their heads a little bit. They were trying to be a little more cautious with (the ball) and didn't just try to field and throw it. You just can't give any team four or five outs an inning."
Six of the Hawks' blunders came in the first and second innings.
Colfax-Mingo230 002 0-7 7 1
South Hamilton111 210 0-6 7 9
Caleb Anderson, Taylor Annis (6) and Connor Hainer. Devin Howard and Lucas Olson. W-Anderson. L-Howard. S-Annis. HR-SH: Cole Swenson. RBI-SH: Chris Jacobson (2), John Hegland, Jordan Sogard, Swenson (2).
South Hamilton, which has dropped four straight decisions, slowly began to chip away at the deficit. John Hegland drove in a run with an infield single in the bottom of the first, and the Hawks added single runs in the second and third to trim Colfax-Mingo's advantage to 5-3.
Chris Jacobson, who sprinted around from second to score on Hegland's slow roller, tied the contest at 5 with a two-run single in the fourth off Tigerhawks' hurler Caleb Anderson. Jacobson finished 2-for-3 at the dish.
And then it was Cole Swenson's turn.
Swenson turned on an Anderson offering in the fifth inning and blasted it over the left-field fence for a solo home run to give South Hamilton its first lead, 6-5. He also roped an RBI single in the game.
"I was really proud of the way the guys fought back," Bell said. "We kept battling in inning after inning until we finally got that lead."
After jumping back ahead in the sixth, Colfax-Mingo - winners of six of its last seven games - turned the ball over to Taylor Annis, and he nailed down the save with two scoreless innings.
Justin Shepherd and Trevor Ullestad added singles for the Hawks.
Sophomore right-hander Devin Howard accepted the loss on the bump. He went the distance, scattering seven hits; he walked three and struck out two, and only three runs were earned.
"Devin threw really well," Bell said. "It's easy for a pitcher to get down on himself and try to do everything when the defense is making errors, but he stuck with it and continued to believe in his teammates."