QUINCY -- The field finally thawed.
Eventually, the Moline bats did, too.
Limited to one run in the first three innings of both games in Saturday's Western Big Six Conference baseball doubleheader, the Maroons used offensive outbursts in the late innings to complete a 12-3, 16-4 sweep of Quincy High School at the QHS field.
"I thought in both games we were really feeling things out," said Moline coach Craig Schimmel, whose team is ranked 16th in the Illinois Prep Baseball Report state ranking. "We made some really good adjustments. The second and third time through the lineup, we had some really good approaches and really good at-bats."
A slow start was understandable.
The start time of the doubleheader was pushed back to 1 p.m. because of the overnight frost and the sub-freezing temperatures Saturday morning. Another delay occurred when the field needed more time to thaw under the afternoon sun, with the twinbill finally starting about 2 p.m.
The Blue Devils didn't let it bother them. They tagged Maroons right-hander Jordan Benson for two runs in the bottom of the first inning in the opener and scratched across a run against Moline left-hander Carter Schierbrock in the first inning of the nightcap.
"I told the guys after the game that it was almost like we played four games today," QHS coach Brandon Crisp said. "The two games were split up into the first four innings and the last couple of innings."
The first four innings of both were pretty solid.
Quincy (4-5, 0-2 WB6) led 3-1 going into the fifth inning in the first game, taking advantage of Alex Harbin's RBI double in the first and Dax Flowerree's run-scoring double in the third.
Flowerree, a right-hander, allowed just four hits through four innings.
"Our starters were really solid," Crisp said. "But we failed to capitalize on some things to give them more support, like getting runners over when we had runners on first and second and less than two out. On the flip side, Moline executed very well when we didn't."
The Maroons (10-2, 2-0 WB6) loaded the bases in the fifth by sandwiching a single between two errors. A two-run single by Nick Drobushevich was followed by a three-run home run to left field by Eric Maffie.
At that point, Quincy's lead was gone for good.
"We kept having good at-bats," said Moline shortstop Brody Harding, who had five hits and six runs scored in the doubleheader. "We know that's all we have to do, because we believe we will eventually hit. We all had quality at-bats."
It led to another quality start by Benson, who struck out 13. He beat the Blue Devils 2-1 in nine innings with 12 strikeouts and one walk last season.
"He's been through the grind," Schimmel said.
Flowerree struck out five and walked two, allowing just three earned runs over five innings. Trevor Wiemelt had two singles and a double as the Blue Devils collected eight hits and left 10 on base.
"I talked to the guys and reminded them this isn't a game where you can front run all the time," Crisp said. "You're going to strike out and fall behind. It's all about how you're going to bounce back and battle."
Such perseverance will be tested after the way the Maroons put the second game away.
Moline led 4-1 going to the sixth inning when it tagged three Quincy relievers for nine hits, five walks and 12 runs. Eric Maffie and Drobushevich each hit a three-run home run in the frame.
Maffie had six hits and nine RBIs, and Drobushevich had four hits and six RBIs in the doubleheader.
"We have a veteran group," Schimmel said. "They handle things really well."
Schierbrock earned the victory, allowing one earned run and striking out six. He retired 13 in a row at one point and threw just 20 balls out of 81 pitches.
"He had command of all three of hits pitches," Schimmel said.
Donovan Prost took the loss, striking out seven and walking five over five innings. Only two of the four runs he allowed were earned. Harbin had a single, a double and three RBIs.
"We took some really good swings," Crisp said. "We just have to keep building on this type of stuff."
Moline 12, Quincy 3
Moline 100 054 2--12 13 1
Quincy 201 000 0--3 8 4
Benson, Baelholz (6) and Parks; Floweree, Wiemelt (6) and Patterson. WP--Benson. LP--Flowerree (0-1). 2B--Moline 3 (Harding, Drobishevich, Sebben), Quincy 4 (Flowerree, Harbin, Wiemelt, Zanger). HR--Moline 2 (Harding, Maffie).
Moline 16, Quincy 4
Moline 100 12(12)--16 13 2
Quincuy 100 003--4 6 2
Schierbrock and Parks; Prost, Henderson (6), Wilson (6), Stratman (6) and Patterson. WP--Schierbrock. LP--Prost (0-1). 2B--Moline 4 (Harding 2, Parks, Ehlers), Quincy 2 (Harbin, Schwiete). 3B–Moline 1 (Anderson). HR--Moline 2 (Drobushevich, Maffie).