Cox too much as Chieftains topple VikingsPublished 9:37pm Tuesday, May 28, 2013
EDWARDSBURG — Dowagiac’s baseball team proved on Tuesday in its Division 2 pre-district game against Niles that they’re better than their record indicates.
Led by Cal Cox’s pitching and hitting, the Chieftains beat the Vikings, 8-4, to improve to 7-17 on the season. Niles finishes with an 18-14 record.
Dowagiac advances to play Berrien Springs in a district semifinal game on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Edwardsburg High School. The Eddies (18-8) and Lakeshore (14-15) meet in the second semifinal around noon. The winners advance to play for the district title around 3 p.m.
The Chieftains won six of their final 10 games and that good play continued against Niles.
“There were definitely signs coming,” said Dowagiac coach Bob Turner when asked if he expected the performance his team displayed against Niles. “The last 10 games of the season we’ve turned things around a little bit and gotten a little bit of momentum. I hope that keeps going.”
Niles baseball coach Mike Vota was asked after the game if his team might have overlooked Dowagiac.
“Absolutely not,” said the Vikings coach. “We knew coming into it that Cox was a real good pitcher. We’ve been talking about that for two weeks, ever since the draw came out, that we were going to have to beat some really good pitchers. We didn’t do that. That’s the most we’ve struck out all year. Hats off to (Cox). He threw a great game.”
Cox, who came into the game with an earned run average well under 2.00, pitched a three-hitter and struck out 12.
“Cal’s effective every game,” Turner said. “He spotted his off-speed stuff probably better than he had all year. When he can locate his off-speed pitches his fastball looks a lot faster.”
Cox got all the run support that he would need in the second inning when Dowagiac scored six runs to take a 6-0 lead. Cox’s two-run homer highlighted the inning. The Chieftains also got a two-run single from Dean Klann and an RBI single from Brett Scanlon.
“We hit the ball a lot better than I thought we could,” Turner said. “It was nice. I’m really proud of these guys.”
Vota wasn’t happy with his team’s two errors and wildness on the mound in the second inning.
“We walked the No. 7 and No. 9 (hitters),” Vota said. “You have to get those outs, especially the first time through the lineup. Then we had the pop-up from (Dowagiac’s Brett) Scanlon to third that we dropped. Then Cox came up and hit a home run. When you walk two guys and have an error it’s hard to prevent teams from scoring.
“We were chasing after one bad inning. We don’t chase well because we’re just limited.”
Niles attempted to make a comeback. The Vikings got a sacrifice fly from Mitchell Dehn in the fourth to pull within 6-1 and pulled within two runs after scoring three times in the sixth. Connor Glick’s two-run homer highlighted that inning for Niles.
Dowagiac responded with two critical insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Garrett Stark’s two-run single gave the Chieftains that four-run lead.
“We put the ball in play,” Turner said. “We got some bunts down and strung some hits together. It took all year for us to do that, but we finally did it. I don’t think Cal has ever had a six-run lead before.”
Cox and Scanlon each collected three hits for Dowagiac.
Division 2 Baseball
Niles 000 103 0 – 4 3 2
Dowagiac 060 002 – 8 13 2
Mitchell Dehn (L, 3-4), Tate Brawley (5) and Chris Mangus; Cal Cox (W, 3-4) and Brett Scanlon
HR: Connor Glick (N), Cox (D)