It was Crawford night on the mound Tuesday at Panther Field, and Nate Haley supplied the big offensive punch as Creston defeated Red Oak, 12-2, in five innings.
After Cody Crawford pitched a two-hit shutout in Creston JV’s 13-0 victory, older brother Cole Crawford followed with an efficient four-hit gem as the Panther varsity cruised to its second mercy-rule win of the season over the Tigers, 12-2.
Jon Birchard’s run-scoring single with two outs ended the game on the 10-run rule in the bottom of the sixth. The Panthers won 11-0 at Red Oak on June 6.
Cole Crawford handcuffed the Red Oak batters, scattering four singles with six strikeouts, one walk and one hit batter.
In the leadoff spot in the order, Crawford was 4-for-4 with a triple, double and two RBI.
Third baseman Nate Haley was 3-for-4 with two doubles and a home run, driving in four runs. He actually cleared the fence twice. After blasting a two-run homer to left in the fourth inning for a 9-2 lead, Haley smacked a one-hopper over the fence for a ground-rule double to make it 11-2 early in the sixth inning.
“Nate is doing a better job of staying back on the ball and not lunging out in front,” coach Steve Birchard said. “Cole had a good night. He’s hitting the ball. He was making good pitches and we played defense behind him.”
Infielder Brandon Phipps plays center field when Crawford pitches, and ranged far into shallow center to make a diving catch after Red Oak put the first two batters on base in the second. Haley also ranged to his left and made a strong throw for an out on a ground ball in the fourth.
The game also marked the return of infielder Conner Pals, a little ahead of schedule after suffering a broken acromion (part of the scapula in the shoulder blade) on June 8. He was originally scheduled to be out four to six weeks.
“He’s DH’ing for us for now,” Birchard said. “He’s not in the field because he’s not supposed to dive or anything. He’s a baseball guy, he’s always in the game, so it’s nice to have him back.”
Red Oak, last in the Hawkeye 10 Conference at 2-13, fell to 3-18 overall. Creston improved to 9-9 in the conference and 12-13 overall. The Panthers host Treynor tonight in salute to veterans night.
Cody Crawford struck out four and issued only one walk in pitching the two-hit victory, 13-0, in junior varsity play.
“Cody was in the zone all game, and we played errorless baseball behind him,” said Creston coach Kyle Wilson.
Chase Shiltz was 2-3 with a double for Creston (9-6) and Brody Frain was 2-2. Kadon Hulett tripled and Garret Taylor hit a double.
Creston 12, Red Oak 2
R H E
Red Oak 020 000 — 2 4 3
Creston 401 412 — 12 15 1
RO: Jesse Taylor 2K 2BB and Tanner Johnson. Cr: Cole Crawford 6K 1BB and Zach Powers. W — Crawford. L— Taylor. HR — Cr: Nate Haley 1. 3B — Cr: Crawford 1. 2B — Cr: Haley 2, Crawford 1, Keaton Hulett 1. RBI — RO: Murphy Porter 1. Cr: Haley 4, Crawford 2, Hulett 2, Powers 1, Brandon Phipps 1, Jon Birchard 1. Multiple hitters — Cr: Crawford 4, Haley 3, Hulett 2, Birchard 2.