MASON CITY – After so many key components of last year’s state qualifying team graduated, Mason City baseball coach Troy Rood knew going in that the 2018 Mohawks would have a different feel about them.
After a slow start to the season that included a seven-game losing skid, the Mohawks seemed to find themselves in the latter stages of the schedule, and with a split in Wednesday’s regular season final double header against Des Moines Roosevelt, Mason City enters Class 4A tournament play with nine wins over its last 13 games.
The Mohawks dropped a heartbreaker in the opener in a 2-1, 10-inning loss before unleashing a solid offensive effort in a 12-4 victory in the nightcap.
“We have tough kids and good kids,” Rood said. “These kids compete.”
The first game was a classic pitchers’ duel between Derek Dalen for Mason City and Ryan DeLaria for Roosevelt.
Dalen was touched for three hits and a run in the first, but Dalen and reliever Josh Ball surrendered only one hit to the Roughriders over the next eight innings.
The Mohawks scratched out the tying run in the fifth but could not string together enough baserunners to come up with the winning run.
The nightcap was a different story for the Mason City offense, as it took control with a seven-run outburst in the fourth inning.
The Mohawks pounded out 12 hits, including three by senior leadoff hitter Bryce Butler.
Butler doubled, singled twice, scored twice, stole a base and drove in one in the second game.
Dylan Miller had two hits and drove in three, and Jake Rood doubled, singled and drove in two.
Josh Smith took the mound in the third inning, and the junior was outstanding the rest of the way as he allowed just one run on four hits over the final five innings.
With the split, the Mohawks complete regular-season play with an 18-21 record.
Mason City travels to Ankeny to face Ankeny Centennial on Friday in the first round of substate play.