HOLY CROSS, Iowa — Roamn Hummel doesn’t mind those last-minute phone calls from manager Mark Simon when the Cascade semi-pro baseball team is short of players.
And, late Friday night, the 39-year-old head coach of the Cascade High School team proved he can still swing it.
Hummel went 4-for-4 with a two-run home run, a double and two runs scored as Cascade thumped Monticello, 17-7, in seven innings for the Holy Cross tournament championship. The Reds won their first tournament title of the summer after dropping a 4-3, 11-inning decision to Key West in its only other title-game appearance, July 28 at Cascade.
“There’s been kind of a changing of the guard the last couple of years with a lot of the younger guys playing a lot more, but I still enjoy being that guy who can fill in at the last minute,” Hummel said. “Most of the time, I’m just sitting around anyway. And it’s kind of cool to be able to play with a lot of the guys I coached when they were in high school.”
The Reds took Hummel up on his offer Thursday and Friday for the Holy Cross tournament because vacations depleted their roster. It marked the first two games he played with the Reds this season after being a mainstay with the team for two decades.
And Hummel didn’t miss a beat at the plate.
“Even though I’m not playing a lot, I’m still getting swings in every now and again,” Hummel said. “I like to get into the cage and hit off the tee, because it helps me when I’m coaching. When I can feel it and visualize what I need to do, I can relate it to the players a lot easier.
“The more I think about it, the easier it seems to be to hit. You have a better understanding of what you need to do at the plate.”
The Reds swung the bats well as a team in the championship game Friday night, pounding out 17 hits and scoring in five of the seven innings.
Tournament MVP Brock Simon, Riley LeGrand, Nate McMullen, Bryce Simon, Greg Bennett and Joel Vaske each contributed two hits, and every spot in the lineup reached safely at least twice. LeGrand, Brock Simon, McMullen, Bennett, Vaske and Dylan Simon joined Hummel with two RBIs.
That was more than enough for winning pitcher Jake Boeckenstedt, who struck out 11, walked four and scattered eight hits in six innings of work. Bennett closed out the win in the seventh.
“This is a pretty cool tournament to win, just because Holy Cross has such a rich tradition of semi-pro baseball,” said Brock Simon, who finished with seven hits and five RBIs in the tournament. “Back in the day, they were one of the best teams around, and they’d win 60-plus games every year.
“It’s a neat tournament and a fun place to play. There are so many good teams now, and it’s not easy to win a tournament. So, it’s always special to win one. We actually won this one because of our pitching and defense, because we weren’t swinging it that well the first couple of games.”
Michael Reuter led Monticello with a pair of hits, while seven others in the lineup had one.
• The semi-pro season has just four tournaments remaining — Peosta and Bernard, as well as the Eastern Iowa Hawkeye League and Prairie League postseason tournaments.