CLINTON — How’s this for a three-game set: .636 average, seven hits, seven runs, three home runs, nine RBIs.
It seemed there was nothing Cody Collender couldn’t do in the Fort Dodge Tournament, Friday and Saturday. He hit, doubled, homered, stole, scored. Clinton’s standout second baseman drove in more runs in three games than the entire Dodger lineup had in two. That’s the 2012 Class 4A state runner up Fort Dodge Dodgers, who the River Kings swept on Friday, 16-7 and 11-1.
“They just didn’t have any answer for Cody,” Clinton coach Kevin Cunningham said. On Saturday, Clinton continued to roll, beating Ames, 9-4. “Fort Dodge, Ames, no one had any answers.
“I think we played outstanding over this weekend. The kids were on fire, we were playing on all cylinders,” Cunningham added.
Collender’s monster performance (seven hits on 11 at-bats) overshadowed other big time showings at the plate. In the opener, Jake Simpson hit a grand slam, adding to 14 total hits for the Kings (5-1) in the game.
Jake Faur and Austin Driscoll each had three-for-four games in the second Dodger matchup, both batting in an RBI, with Faur doubling and Driscoll scoring twice. The game ended in six innings courtesy Simpson’s stellar mound performance and the 10-run rule.
Against Ames, Rodney Witherspoon made his first start on the mound and threw 4 1/3 innings in the win. Collender notched his third homer of the tournament, while Dustin Caldwell ripped a three-run double to put the game out of reach.
Cunningham said it was a good way to bounce back following a 4-3 loss to Cedar Rapids Prairie earlier in the week. The River Kings tallied 38 hits and 34 runs through three games.
“I think our team has improved from last year,” he said. “What I’m seeing is a real commitment to Clinton baseball from our kids. They’re working hard in the weight room and on the field.