The Ankeny baseball team was already relying on several sophomores this season.
Now you can add another one to the list.
Sophomore pitcher Will Johnson made his varsity debut during the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader at Ames, then came back in during the nightcap and earned a save as the Hawks completed a sweep of the twinbill with a 7-6 victory.
“I was really impressed with the way Will handled himself in that situation,” said Ankeny coach Joe Balvanz. “He got a strikeout and a grounder to (second baseman) Carter (Smith) to save that one for us.”
Cooper Cox (1-1) earned the win in the second game. He allowed two earned runs and had three strikeouts over the first 3 1/3 innings.
“Cooper made his first varsity start,” Balvanz said. “I really like his competitiveness.”
Lucas Juhl and Cael Boyd then combined to pitch the next three innings before Johnson came in to get the final two outs.
“Anytime you can get two wins on the road in this league, you’ve got to be happy about it,” Balvanz said. “I really think this is one of the best leagues around.”
Weston Fulk went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs for the Hawks. Mo Watson also went 2-for-4 and drove in a run.
Ankeny rolled to an 11-2 victory in the opener behind Chris Spear, who allowed just one earned run on three hits and had five strikeouts over the first 5 1/3 innings. Spear also had two RBIs while raising his record to 2-1 on the season.
“Chris did a great job,” Balvanz said. “He’s not the most vocal guy, but he leads by his actions. He’s a reliable guy and really battled. He just kept pounding the strike zone.”
The Hawks had just six hits, but benefited from 10 walks. Brody Brecht went 1-for-2 and walked three times, stole three bases, scored two runs and knocked in another.
Watson had a double and one RBI for Ankeny, which stole 15 bases on the night.
“We’ve been working with guys to be patient at the plate and to elevate the pitchers’ pitch counts, and we did a really good job of that,” Balvanz said. “And we were able to use our speed on the bases.”
The Hawks improved to 3-2 in the CIML Central Conference and 7-5 overall. Ames, which has lost six straight games, dropped to 0-6 and 5-9.