CLINTON — Cody Collender took his second hit by pitch of the game with class in the sixth inning, tossing his bat back to the Clinton dugout and trotting down to first. On Wednesday night, it seemed all a River King base runner needed to do was make it on to be in scoring position.
On the next pitch, Collender stole second with ease, and on the wild throw from Cedar Rapids Xavier, cruised into third base. Two batters later, Cody Nolan knocked a sac-fly to deep center, scoring a tagged-up Collender for Clinton’s eighth and final run of the night.
An inning later, Collender and Nolan teamed on a 4-6-3 double play to end the game with Clinton on top, 8-3. It capped off a night in which the River Kings found all the right caps and turned around five extra base hits.
“We talked a lot about awareness on the bases,” Clinton coach Kevin Cunningham said. “Looking for opportunities to advance anyway we can. I think we’re up there in the state with stolen bases and extra base hits.”
In fact, Clinton hit its 27th double and 10th triple as a team, totaling 48 extra base hits on the season.
The River King scoring started in the second inning, with Evan Jackson walking to load the bases for Dustin Caldwell. Caldwell -- who led all batters with three RBIs on two hits and a double -- sliced a gapper between the Saints center and left fielders, putting Clinton up 2-0. Austin Driscoll drove in Jackson to add a third run.
Collender led off the third inning, tattooed the right field baseline and hit the gas to take a triple. He was followed up by a Ryan Driscoll base knock, who took home later that inning on a Xavier passed ball at the plate.