BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Fort Madison head baseball coach Ken Steeples was sort of lost as to how many years it’s been since his Bloodhound baseball team has won a doubleheader at home.
The Hounds shut out Keokuk 5-0 in the opening game of a twinbill Monday night at home and then edged the Chiefs 4-3 in the night cap.
“We we’re just talking about that and I don’t think it’s been since I came here in 2012, but I don’t know. It may be six years since we’ve won a double header at home.”
A quick check of Quik Stats Iowa showed that the last doubleheader the Hounds won at home was against Washington on July 10, 2013. The Hounds actually won five double headers that year, two were at home. The other team was Keokuk. The Hounds swept Keokuk, West Burlington and Washington on the road that year as well.
But you’d have to go back to July 2, 2007 to find the last time the Bloodhound baseball and softball teams swept doubleheaders at home on the same night, with both teams sweeping Keokuk.
The Lady Hounds knocked off the Chiefs Monday night 8-2 in the opener and 4-1 in the second game.
“It sweeter that it’s Keokuk, but it’s even sweeter yet that we earned the win in both games, we played well and won both games,” Steeples said. “We made some mistakes base running in the second game. We had several thrown out. Some of that was being aggressive and some just weren’t very smart, but if we get thrown out being aggressive I don’t have a problem with that.”
Dayne Cordray went five innings and sparkled through the first three not allowing a hit or walk retiring the first nine hitters he faced. But the Chiefs started to dial in on the quick working hurler. In the top of the fourth with the Hounds already up 3-0, the junior got Colton Atterberg to pop out to second to start the inning, but then gave up three straight hits including a double to the Chief’s senior Jake Jones. Jones would come around to score on Bryce Miller’s single to right. Miller Giesler would single to left and move Miller to third, but Cordray would pick Miller off at third on the next play to end the inning.
Brandon Reichelt hit a home run to right center off the first pitch he saw in the top of the second to get the scoring going for the Hounds. Lennon Barker singled and Tony Fortado laid down a bunt to move him over, but outran the throw to first for a single. A pick off move to get Fortado went to the fence and both Barker and Fortado moved up a base. Danen Settles then drove a pitch to center scoring Barker, but Fortado was called out at second for leaving too early on the tag. Gavin Walker fanned to end the threat.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Hounds got what would end up being the game winning run when Fortado drew a lead off walk and Jace Burgher singled to left moving Fortado to second. He took third on a passed ball and then scored on a 6-4-3 double play where it appeared Settles had beaten the throw at first but was called out.
Neither team scored in the fifth and Keokuk put up a run in the top of the sixth prompting Steeples to bring in Jordyn Gerdes from third with two men on. Gerdes gave up an RBI double, then got the first out on a fielders’ choice on a tag play at home. He gave up a walk to the next hitter and the fanned the next two to end Keokuk’s sixth.
The Hounds would go 1-2-3 in the bottom of the sixth and Gerdes buttoned it up in the top of the seventh issuing a walk, but getting the last two hitters to fly out.
Steeples said Cordray pitched well, the Chief’s just figured him out late in the game.
“His control was good,” Steeples said. “He pitched well they just got him timed the third time around. We meant to have Jordan warmed up, but Dayne had been rolling right along. But Jordyn came in and did a good job.”
Steeples said he was very happy with the fielding his team executed.
I’m really proud of our defense tonight. I don’t think we committed an error all night,” Steeples said.