Senior-dominated Cubs won record 21 games

The 2013 season saw history made by the Nevada baseball team as the Cubs set a school record for wins in a single season under first-year head coach Doug Anderson.

Led by a deep and talented senior class, Nevada followed up last year’s strong 19-10 campaign by going 21-13 this summer. The Cubs placed third in the Heart of Iowa Conference with a 13-5 record, scored four victories over ranked teams and topped things off with a postseason victory.

Nevada began the season with a 4-2 victory over Pella and they crushed South Hamilton by a 10-2 score in their HOIC opener. Then they pushed eventual Class 2A state runner-up North Polk to the limit before suffering a 1-0 loss against Comet all-state ace Jacob Hadaway on June 3.

The Cubs ran their record to 5-2 after splitting one-run games with Greene County and Waterloo East, handing Lake Mills a 5-2 loss and upsetting then fourth-ranked (2A) Roland-Story by a 7-2 score in Nevada on June 10.

"From start to finish, this was a very good year," Anderson said. "We typically get off to slow starts because of the run-over from track, soccer and golf; just about our entire team was involved in one of those sports. But we got off to a good start this year by beating Pella for the first time, and we just really got into the flow right away. Having a senior –heavy team helped because they were used to this routine."

Nevada hit a rough patch following its big victory over the Norsemen. The Cubs dropped four straight with two losses to non-conference rival Ballard in Slater, plus setbacks against Gilbert and Carlisle.

But the Cubs didn’t allow the season to go on a downward spiral. They regrouped with an impressive 8-1 stretch from June 17-28.

What made the 12-day stretch extra special is that the first six victories all came on the road.

The Cubs crushed South Hamilton in Jewell by an 11-0 score on June 17, followed by a 5-3 win at Colfax-Mingo two days later. On June 20, the Cubs split a doubleheader with PCM and two days later they won the Adel-Desoto-Minburn Invitational, which included a 9-8 victory over Des Moines Christian and a 5-4 triumph over a then-ranked 3A team in ADM.

On June 26 the Cubs pulled off a 14-13 slugfest against Saydel. That set up the most impressive outing of the season, and maybe in all Nevada history, the next night when the Cubs hosted North Polk.

Nevada fell behind early against the Comets, but they came back to stun the then-No. 1 team in 2A by a 6-3 score.

The Cubs capped their hot streak by earning another high-scoring victory, this time by an 11-10 margin over Greene County at home on June 28.

June 29 saw Nevada cool off a bit as they lost to Eddyville-Blakesburg/Fremont and North Mahaska in Grinnell. But those setbacks only served as a small bump in the road.

The Cubs came back to crush West Marshall by a 15-2 score on July 1 and they swept Collins-Maxwell-Baxter in a doubleheader at home the next day. The Cubs then finished off their hot spurt July 3 by pulling off a sweep of eventual 2A state semifinalist Roland-Story with a 5-1 win at Story City.

"After defeating Pella for the first time, we beat PCM and Saydel for the first time in many years and swept a Roland-Story team that went on to play in the state tournament," Anderson said. "But without a doubt, beating the No. 1 team in the state (North Polk) was our No. 1 highlight."

In its first games after July 4, Nevada suffered losses to Grinnell and Gilbert. But the Cubs rebounded to crush Colfax-Mingo by a 14-2 score and claim a 4-1 non-conference rivalry game over Colo-Nesco.

A 4-3 loss at Saydel prevented Nevada from taking second in the HOIC behind North Polk. But the Cubs came back to claim a 9-5 road win at Bondurant-Farrar in their final regular season game.

In 2A district play, Nevada opened up against archrival Gilbert. The Tigers had swept the Cubs in the regular season, but Nevada came through when it mattered most by posting a 5-2 triumph in the district semifinals at Adel.

That pitted the Cubs in a rematch with ADM for the district title on July 22 in Adel. Unfortunately, they had an off night at the wrong time, losing an 11-1 decision to witness their tremendous season come to a close.

Nevada truly epitomized the word team all season long. The Cubs didn’t have any real star players as they relied on a balanced hitting attack and deep pitching rotation to top the 20-win mark.

"Our biggest strength was our overall balance from our one through nine hitters in the order," Anderson said. "None of our guys were easy outs and we had guys on our bench that we could count on to fill in when needed."

As a team Nevada scored 209 runs on a .296 batting average with 49 doubles, five triples and three home runs. The Cubs posted a team on-base average of .379 and slugging average of .369, and they totaled 60 steals in 64 attempts.

Sophomore Alex Good and senior Colynn Black were the top hitters for Nevada.

Batting primarily from the No. 3 spot in the order, Good hit a team-best .450 with a .600 slugging average and OBA of .532. He smacked six doubles, led the team with two home runs and compiled 24 RBI and 19 runs.

Black ended up hitting just under .400 at .396 and he posted a .586 slugging average and .468 OBA as the No. 2 hitter in the lineup. Black led the team in doubles (12) and triples (three); he also homered once and he drove in 23 runs, stole 12 bases and scored a team-best 34 runs.

Senior outfielder Owen Shawgo and senior first baseman Zach Anderson just missed hitting .300.

Shawgo posted a .299 average with two doubles, a team-high 15 steals and 17 runs and RBI apiece. Anderson hit at a .297 clip with eight doubles, 16 runs and 26 RBI.

Senior outfielder John Jamison and senior pitcher/catcher Chase Stout both hit over .250 on the season.

Jamison finished with a .284 average, six doubles, 17 runs and 16 RBI. Stout had a .262 average with a team-best 18 walks, a .441 OBA, 26 runs and nine RBI.

Seniors Brook Thompson, Chad Jamison, Patrick Stephenson and Tanner Hanson were Nevada’s other regular starters.

Thompson hit .243 with three doubles, one triple, 26 runs, 13 RBI and eight steals. Chad posted a .226 average with 11 runs, 10 walks and four RBI, Stephenson hit .223 with four doubles, 18 runs and 11 RBI and Hanson had a .220 average with one double, one triple and 12 runs.

Sophomore Traye Pelzer was a key reserve for Nevada. Pelzer hit .324 with one double and six runs in 34 at-bats.

Seniors Dannon Anderson and Dan Ralston also made key contributions off the bench. Anderson hit .400 with one double and two RBI and runs apiece in five at-bats and Ralston hit .200 with three hits, one double and five runs in 15 at-bats.

In the field Nevada made 43 errors in 859 chances for a .950 fielding average. Chad Jamison and Stout also combined to throw out 11 runners from behind the plate.

Shawgo and John Jamison both played error- free ball in the outfield and Hanson made just one error and totaled three assists in center field. Anderson registered a .990 fielding average with 196 putouts at first base, Stout registered a .973 fielding average and threw four runners out and Chad caught seven runners stealing.

Good posted a .969 fielding average playing at third base and on the mound. Thompson made 44 assists and 48 putouts at second base, Black totaled 42 assists and 33 putouts both pitching and playing third base and Stephenson recorded 74 assists and 34 putouts at shortstop.

The Cub pitching staff allowed 156 runs and registered a staff earned-run average of 3.67 with 169 strikeouts and 97 walks in 230 2/3 innings.

Stout handled most of the innings as he went 8-2 with a 2.25 ERA, 51 strikeouts and 22 walks in 74 2/3 innings. Black threw 45 1/3 innings and went 5-4 with a 5.25 ERA, 15 strikeouts and 29 walks and Thompson went 1-3 with a 4.63 ERA, 25 strikeouts and just seven walks in 39 1/3 innings.

An arm injury cut Good’s time on the mound short. But he was still productive, finishing 4-3 with a 4.72 ERA and 52 strikeouts against just 22 walks in 43 innings.

Eighth-grader Tyler Shafer performed admirably, filling in for Good late in the season. Shafer went 2-1 with a 2.17 ERA, 20 strikeouts and 13 walks in 19 1/3 innings.

Anderson also threw nine innings and he went 1-0 with a 1.56 ERA, six strikeouts and four walks in nine innings.

"We didn’t have a Zach Cross-type pitcher (last year’s ace) this year," Anderson said. "But we were a balanced group of pitchers."

An enormous rebuilding job awaits Nevada next season. Good was the only everyday player that wasn’t a senior this season.

The Cub senior class also left quite a mark, not only in baseball, but in the overall athletic program at Nevada. They were part of three-straight state appearances in soccer, including a runner-up and a third-place finish the last two years, the school’s first football playoff appearance since 1986 this past fall and an 18-5 record in basketball last winter.

"No doubt this was a special class," Anderson said. "They had a run that started with making the playoffs in football, then with the basketball records they set, and of course, making it to the state soccer tournament once again. They just topped it off by having the kind of baseball season they had. There were a lot of lumps in throats after our loss to ADM to end their careers. They will be missed."

But the bright side of losing such a deep and talented class is that it opens all kinds of doors for the younger players coming back as they look to leave their own mark on the program.

"We will only have one senior next year (Stephenson) and a handful of juniors," Anderson said. "We will be very young and don’t have a whole lot of varsity innings returning. But our middle school teams do have a lot of talent coming up and they may be asked to help out a little early in their careers. Patrick, Alex, Traye and Tyler will be our main guys to build around and that’s a good start."