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No matter the weather, Nixa bats hot in three-game tournament sweep


Jaret Nelson and his Nixa teammates responded to temperatures in the 30s with a 15-hit attack Friday in the Eagles’ opener of the Rogersville/Hollister Tournament.

Nixa needed six innings to 10-run-rule Columbia Hickman 16-6.

Nelson and Jack Edwards both delivered home runs, despite the cold and blustery conditions.

“On a night like tonight, you really have to attack because you're so cold,” Nelson said. “You have to be even more pro-active at-bat or you're going to get the ball blown by you, even if it's only an 80 mph fast ball.”

Nelson could only imagine what it would have felt like to be jammed on an inside fast ball.

“I barreled everything tonight, thank God,” he said.

Coach Logan Hughes was pleased to see his hitters not succumb to the cold.

“We were really aggressive,” he said. “Our approach was good, driving the ball to right-center.”

Right-center was the right place to hit on the night, with the blowing out in that direction.

Nelson belted a towering two-run home run to right-center. 

“I knew I hit it well,” he said. “But I thought my launch angle was a little high and I might have popped it up.”

Nelson added when he’s hitting particularly well, he’s going the opposite way.

“I hit more home runs to the opposite field,” he said. “Most of my power is that way. Because I'm longer, I can really extend (my arms) when I hit the ball that way.” 

Edwards connected for his first varsity home run by sending a shot almost into the lights and well beyond the left-field fence.

“I knew I hit it hard and I knew I hit it high,” Edwards said. “It felt good off the barrel. It was a high and inside pitch and I got my hands through it.”

"I turned around and said, 'Let's go.' That was a big bomb,” Nelson added. 

Hughes inserted first baseman John Gholson and designated hitter Caeden Cloud to the lineup. Gholson delivered an RBI-double and Cloud had an RBI-single.

Hughes feels good about the depth the Eagles are building and the competition developing for starting jobs.

“We played two guys who haven't played in a while,” Hughes said. “Gholson got the start at first and played well and Caeden DH'd and had some good at-bats. We have a lot of guys who can hit. There's competition. I think that's why we're getting better. They know if they don't continue to get better somebody behind them will pass them.”

Wyatt Vincent collected three hits, including a pair of doubles.

Nixa plated eight runs in the second inning.

“Every game we play we want to punch the other team in the mouth as much as we can,” said Nelson, who had a two-run double in the second. “Our eight runs in the second was a successful inning. But that inning didn't define the game. We still hit the ball well throughout the game.”

Winning pitcher Hardy Dougan pitched into the fifth and received relief help from Blake Pendergrass and Brayton Tangora. 

“Hardy wasn't as sharp as he has been,” Hughes said. “But he grinded through and learned a lot.”

Nixa (14-0) followed up by beating St. Francis Borgia 16-14 in eight innings and whipping McDonald County 15-3 Saturday.

The Eagles let leads of 6-0 and 12-7 slip away against Borgia, before rallying from a 14-12 deficit in the seventh. Nelson ripped a game-ending two-run homer.

The Eagles’ 17 hits also included three hits apiece by Edwards and Tanner Grant. Edwards had four RBIs.

Sam Russo struck out six over 4.1 innings of work on the mound.

Nelson, Edwards and Vincent homered versus McDonald County. Nate Uber was the winning pitcher.

Nixa totaled 43 hits in the three games.