It’s not often you see winter coats, hats and gloves at a baseball game in May, but that’s what much of the crowd looked like on a chilly night at Roosevelt Field on Thursday.
The cold was well worth it for the home fans, though, as the Mason City River Hawks faced deficits of 2-0 and 4-1 before scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take their first and only lead of the game. That lead was enough to secure a 5-4 win over the Dallas Center-Grimes Mustangs, and it came on quite an unexpected play.
Just an inning after his RBI triple trimmed the River Hawks’ deficit to two and gave them life, Carter Thomas stepped to the plate with the score at 4-3. A towering pop-fly into shallow right field, it looked like an easy play for any one of the Mustangs’ fielders in the area.
“I was looking at them look at each other and then back up at the ball and I was like: ‘is that gonna fall down?’ And then it did, and I was very happy. Then I realized we scored two runs.”
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Kaden Tyler shut things down in the seventh inning as part of a stellar pitching performance in relief of Thomas, and Mason City advanced to 4-1 on the season, bouncing back from the team’s first loss to Fort Dodge.
Despite the hot start, Mason City coach Troy Rood still thinks there’s plenty of room for improvement.
“We have so many more things to get better at,” he said. “We trained hard to get ready for the season, but the actual intricacies of the game, of getting to the right positions when there’s pressure, you have to have game reps to do that. I don’t care who our opponent is, we’re gonna try to get better in every game.”
Despite some of that early season sloppiness, the fight the team showed was admirable. That never say die attitude lit a fire at Roosevelt Field on a night where the temperature didn’t exactly scream “baseball season”, and the River Hawks came out with a victory to show for it.
But that’s what kind of team Rood believes he has on his hands. That attitude and effort is expected because of the way his players do things year-round.
“I think that’s kind of the MO of this team,” Mason City coach Troy Rood said. “They’re tough kids, competitive kids, and we have so many multi-sport athletes in our team. I told them after the game, we just have a bunch of winners and it carries over from sport to sport. They just expect to win and carry themselves that way.”