CAM Cougars

(Anita) -- The CAM Cougars are currently 6-0 behind some opportunistic hitting and stellar pitching.

"We are playing pretty well," Coach Dan Daugherty said. "I didn't know what to expect with limited practice time, but the kids came ready to play and we are pretty much doing everything right. I hope we can continue to do it." 

The Cougars currently hold wins over Exira-EHK, East Union, West Harrison, Coon Rapids-Bayard, Glidden-Ralston and Ar-We-Va. They are currently scoring an average of 12 runs per contest and hitting .367 as a team.

"We've really limited our strikeouts," Daugherty said. "We're putting the ball in play and trying to get the barrel on the ball and hit it hard. We've got some guys swinging it well." 

Sophomore Joe Kaufman is currently hitting .647 in 17 at-bats this season and has driven in nine runs. Daugherty attributes Kaufman's early successes to the offseason work he put in. 

"He's been out with PEAK Performance in Council Bluffs, so he's had a few more cuts than everyone else," Daugherty said. "When the season took off, he was hitting line drives everywhere. He's been a pleasant surprise." 

Senior Kolby Nelson is currently hitting .471 with six RBI. Cade Ticknor has driven in a team-high 10 runs and is batting .438.  Colby Rich, Lane Spieker, Jacob Holste, Connor McKee and Ben Tibken have also been key cogs in the Cougars' lineup. 

The pitching has been almost as impressive as the offense.

Ticknor -- this week's Jim Hughes Real Estate KMAland Athlete of the Week -- has tossed 14 innings, allowing only six hits and zero earned runs while striking out 13.

"He just throws strikes," Daugherty said. "He's got a good curveball. He can throw it no matter what the count is. He's throwing the ball hard."

Nelson has allowed just one hit in six innings. Spieker currently boasts a 1.05 ERA and 12 strikeouts while Holste, Kaufmann and Rich have also seen some time on the bump.

In total, the Cougars have allowed only one earned run through the first six games.

"We've got a deep pitching staff," Daugherty said. "Our pitching staff is probably the strongest part of our game so far. I've probably got four guys that could be our number one. If they can throw strikes, we are going to be a tough out."

Daugherty feels his team will have to continue their strong pitching performances if they want to continue the success they have had.

"In the long run, we're going to have to continue to throw strikes," he said. 

The Cougars have four games over the next four nights against Boyer Valley, Orient-Macksburg, Exira-EHK and Southwest Valley and will finish their regular season slate with contests against Woodward-Granger, Underwood and Audubon. Daugherty hopes his team can use their rigorous schedule at the end of the season as a primer for the postseason, where they have lofty goals. 

"We want to make a deep postseason run," he said. "We're going to be tested right before tournament time and I hope that does us some good. Hopefully that pays off for us."

The complete interview with Coach Daugherty can be heard below.