Brad Bockenstedt threw a complete-game five-hit shutout. Bryce Simon had three doubles and two RBIs. Nolan Weber drove in two runs without a hit as the Cascade Reds moved a step closer to winning their own tournament after beating Zwingle, 6-0, in their quarterfinal clash in July 21.
“We’re kind of going back to the old school way of playing baseball,” said Nate McMullen, second basemen and head coach of the Reds. “Somebody gets on base and then the guys try to move him over on a bunt and then we look for a way to score him home.”
That’s how Cascade scored most of its runs against Zwingle. The Reds manufactured their first run of the game, in the top of the second inning. Bryce Simon laced a lead-off double to the centerfield wall, stole third and strolled home on Weber’s groundout to first base.
The Reds made it a 3-0 lead in the top of the third when they pushed two more runs across the plate. With one out, Brock Simon traded places with Dillon Simon who was retired on a fielder’s choice play at second. Brock Simon quickly swiped second and scored on McMullen’s RBI-single to short right-centerfield. McMullen took second on the throw to the plate and scored on Bryce Simon’s second double of the game.
In the top of the fifth, the Reds scored a run without a ball leaving the infield to build the lead to 4-0. Regan Takes’ infield single loaded the bases with nobody out. Jackson Bennett’s groundball to short forced Bryce Simon at home. Blake Simon followed with a slow roller to third and his only play was to first which allowed Weber to score.
Haris Takes and McMullen scored the final two runs for the Reds in the top of the sixth inning. Haris Takes singled on the first pitch of the inning and advanced to second on Brock Simon’s bunt single. Haris Takes moved to third and Brock Simon was forced out at second on McMullen’s two-hopper to shortstop. Bryce Simon’s third double of the day plated Takes and got McMullen to third base who would score on Weber’s sacrifice fly.
“I mean we can score other ways and it helps when you have guys like Bryce (Simon) who is seeing the ball well and swinging the bat well,” said McMullen. “Everybody in our lineup is starting to swing it pretty well and doing a nice job of putting the bat on the ball. It’s just nice to have a good representation of how we play baseball and be able to show that at our tournament.”
The Reds are also using another old school method to get the job done defensively. It all starts with Brad Bockenstedt, the Reds’ ageless wonder, getting it done on the mound throwing to contact and then having a bunch of youngsters not far removed from their high school days of playing for the Cougars flashing their leather and showcasing their quickness chasing down any mistakes that Bockenstedt might have left out over the plate for the other team to hit.
“Brad is a terrific individual and means so much to this team. He’s always the one who keeps saying let’s go have fun,” said McMullen. “He also does a great job, no matter what his age is, going out there and competing. If inspires us to work hard for him when he’s on the mound.”
With the win, the Reds advance to Friday’s semifinals at 7 p.m. where they will battle Epworth. McMullen urges all Reds fans to show up and continue to support their team’s run to the title.
“Doing well in our tournament always means a lot to us. We take a lot of pride in representing this great community of Cascade,” said McMullen. “Our fans always do a great job of supporting us. The crowds have been just awesome the past two Sundays that we have played this tournament. We can’t thank them enough. We just hope to see them and hear them the final weekend of the tournament.”