But it all came together for Nees Wednesday night at South Putnam, as the Clovers won 5-2.
The Clover pitcher hurled a complete game four-hitter against the Eagles, allowing just two runs and three walks. He fanned 10 Eagle hitters in the process.
At the plate, Nees was also the Clovers' leader, going 2-for-2 with four runs batted in and two walks. Three of those four RBI came on a fifth inning home run.
"Cody Nees pitched like we knew he could pitch all year. He's been struggling with his control, and we haven't been playing defense behind him," said Cloverdale coach Tim Savini.
"Tonight he was in control all the way through. I was proud of the way he pitched," the coach added.
In the early innings, the lead changed hands a couple of times. Cody Nees put the Clovers up in the top of the first by driving in a run against cousin and South Putnam starter Adam Nees. Adam returned the favor in the bottom half, reaching on a triple and then scoring on Cody's wild pitch.
Then in the bottom of the second, South freshman Cameron Chestnut (another cousin, believe it or not) took the very first pitch he saw over the center field fence for his first high school home run. South Putnam coach Harold Campbell was proud of the youngster.
"He hit a nice home run out there to straightaway center," Campbell said. "It's just another example of the young talent we have."
That was all the scoring the Eagles would do for the night, though.
Each Nees settled in held the other team scoreless until the fifth. In the top of five, though, Cloverdale's Josh Flory led off with a single. Adam Nees threw a couple of wild pitches in walking Brandon Mescall, which advanced Flory to third. With runners at the corners, Cody Nees hit his shot to center field.
Campbell simply called it "the play of the game." The coach gave the opposing player the credit he was due.
"Cody Nees was really dialed in. You could tell he was on a mission tonight," Campbell said.
The win avenges Cloverdale's season-opening 14-4 loss to South Putnam, a game that saw Cody Nees get knocked around by Eagle hitters.
"We knew these guys (Cloverdale) would come out and be real focused and aggressive," Campbell said.
In the rematch, Campbell simply saw a good effort from the Clovers and some mental errors from his Eagles.
"It was not a bad game, but our mental mistakes and their guys being aggressive made the difference," Campbell said.
The Eagles fell to 4-8 overall and 2-6 in the WCC.
For Savini and the Clovers, though, this game marked things coming together the way they would like.
"We got good pitching, we played good defense and we put the bat on the ball. That's what our goal's been all year," Savini said.
The Clovers improved to 2-10 overall and 2-8 in conference.
Cloverdale hosts White River Valley today at 4:30 p.m. South is back in action Saturday when they host North Vermillion at 10 a.m.
At South Putnam
|Cloverdale||100 031 0 -- 5 8 2|
|South Putnam||110 000 0 -- 2 4 3|
C. Nees and Mescall (Cl), A. Nees and Boswell (SP)
W -- C. Nees
L -- A. Nees
2B -- Shoulders (Cl)
3B -- A. Nees (SP)
HR -- C. Nees (Cl), Chestnut (SP)
Next game -- Cloverdale hosts White River Valley tonight at 4:30 p.m. South Putnam hosts North Vermillion Saturday at 10 a.m.
COUNTY BASEBALL ROUNDUP
Rooker strong in return to mound
CRAWFORDSVILLE -- North Putnam's Kyle Rooker was strong in his return to the mound after hurting his arm early in the season. Rooker went five innings allowing three runs on three hits and four walks. He struck out four in the 10-4 win over Southmont.
"(Rooker) came back tonight and looked really good," North Putnam coach Norm Fish said. "I'm really happy to see him back."
Jake Mullis relieved Rooker in the sixth, fanning four and allowing one run in two innings.
Taking the field the night after a disappointing loss to Cascade, Fish's team responded well Wednesday.
"I'm really happy to see them bounce back and get back on track against Southmont," Fish said.
Griffen Dahlstrom led the Cougars on offense, going 2-for-3 with a double and a two-run homer. Dahlstrom had four runs batted in. J.T. Francies was 3-for-4, while Mullis went 2-for-4.
The Cougars take the field again Saturday when they host Crawfordsville at 11 a.m.
|North Putnam||-- 10 11 1|
|Southmont||-- 4 5 3|
Rooker, Mullis (6) and Berry (NP)
W -- Rooker
L -- Price
2B -- G. Dahlstrom (NP)
HR -- G. Dahlstrom (NP)
Next game -- North Putanm hosts Crawfordsville at 11 a.m. Saturday.