ROCK FALLS – After a half inning, the Rock Falls Rockets baseball team was staring at 2-0 deficit to the Mendota Trojans.
The need to worry didn't last long.
The Rockets scored six runs in the bottom of the inning, before cruising to a 14-4 win in six innings.
"We've come out flat the last couple of games and not played well," Rock Falls coach Donnie Chappell said. "Today, we had life and energy, and seemed to swing the bats a little better, which is the main thing."
Rock Falls (13-9, 5-5 BNC) hit the ball well early, setting the tone. The Rockets had seven hits in the first inning alone. All six of the runs that were scored came on RBIs.
"Offensively this year, we have been a great ball club," Mendota coach Aaron Sester said. "Our kids did a good job, coming out and grabbing a 2-0 lead early. We had a few misjudged balls in the first, and you can't do that against good teams. Rock Falls is one of those teams and programs, and they made us pay.
"I think our kids could have been in the ballgame had they not given up six runs in the first."
After the first, the Rockets piled it on, picking up a pair of runs in the second and fourth innings, sandwiched around a run in the third.
Cayden Erickson was key at the plate. He drove in four runs, and scored four times. He also went 4-for-4, and was a triple shy of the cycle.
"We've lost two games in a row," Erickson said. "In the first game against Mendota, we kind of had a bad day and didn't swing the bats at all. We just got sick of losing and had to get back on it, so we can get a win streak going."
Although he tried to get the cycle in his final at-bat, Erickson instead "accidentally" hit a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth to spark the three runs the Rockets needed to 10-run the Trojans.
"I wasn't going for another home run," Erickson said. "I was going for the cycle, and I needed a triple. As soon as I hit it, I knew it was going over the fence. It was just one of those hits. I got two home runs under my belt today, so I'm still pretty happy about that."
Freshman James McFadden went six innings to pick up the win. All four Trojan runs were earned, on eight hits. He also struck out eight and walked one batter.
Mendota's Shane Kruse hit a solo home run well over the fence in the fourth. McFadden kept cool, calm and collected, as he proceeded to strike out six of the last nine Mendota batters that he faced.
"If I knew why we swung the bats this well, our record would be a lot better," said Chappell. "We just haven't seemed focused lately, so I think it's more of a mental thing. We definitely have the talent to do something well in the postseason, and I'm running out of pep talks, so hopefully we figure it out."
Star of the game: Cayden Erickson,Rock Falls, 4-4, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R.
Key performers: James McFadden, Rock Falls, 6 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 8 K 1 BB. Reid Ackerman, Rock Falls, 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI.
Up next: Oregon at Rock Falls, Tuesday 4:30 P.M.