BY ETHAN LILLARD
FORT MADISON- Coming into Tuesday’s contest against Washington, Fort Madison’s baseball team was riding high on a three-game win streak. The Bloodhounds were originally set to take on the Demons May 24, but the games were rained out and the doubleheader was moved to Tuesday at Fort Madison High School.
The Hounds were within one run of Washington through three innings in game No. 1, but a big top of the fourth helped the Demons take game one 10-4. Fort Madison flipped the script in game two, walking away with a 9-1 bounce back win behind the arm of Dayne Cordray.
Washington started game one with back-to-back singles before a sacrifice groundout plated the first run of the game for the Demons. The groundout was followed by another single, as Washington took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.
Fort Madison had plenty of opportunities to snatch the lead in the first two innings, loading the bases on two separate occasions, but couldn’t make anything happen.
“Tonight we put together some good at bats and hit balls right at people,” Fort Madison Head Coach Ron Walker said. “We’re at least getting in the box now and competing in that situation and giving ourselves a chance to drive in some runs.”
Singles were the theme for the Demons through the first three innings, as two singles, two walks and a fielder’s choice gave Washington a 3-0 advantage heading into the bottom half of the third inning.
Back-to-back walks to Dayne Cordray and Vasin Thurman allowed Brandon Reichelt to collect the first RBI of the game for Fort Madison and trim the lead to 3-1 in the third. Two straight strikeouts were followed by Vasin Thurman coming around to score on some heads up base running and a passed ball at third, as Washington’s lead dwindled to 3-2.
The momentum the Bloodhounds were able to build in the bottom of the third was short lived, as Washington came alive at the plate in the top half of the four scoring six to put the game at 9-2.
Things started to come back around for Fort Madison in the bottom of the fifth inning. Codray walked, Reichelt singled and Fehseke also singled to load the bases for Fort Madison with just one out. Another single from Tate Johnson plated both Thurman and Reichelt for the Hounds final runs of the game, getting to within 9-4.
A double coupled with a Fort Madison fielding error gave Washington the final run of the game, as the Demons went on to take game one by the final of 10-4.
“You never feel like you performed well when you know you could have done better,” Walker said. “Obviously we know we didn’t play our best game. Our energy was down … We didn’t compete for seven innings and were pretty flat. You can’t do that against a good team.”
Gerdes was hit with the loss throwing 66 pitches over three innings, allowing five hits and five earned runs. Johnson paced Fort Madison with two RBIs, while Reichelt and Fehseke each collected two hits at the plate in game one.
Cordray drew the start in game two and delivered with his most dominant performance of the season.
After forcing Washington into a three-up, three-down top of the first, Fort Madison took control. Landes Williams started the home-half of the first with a bunt single before Jason Thurman singled himself in the two hole. Gerdes flew out the next at bat, but moved Williams to third. Cordray then walked to load the bases, before Vasin Thurman struck out to leave the bases loaded with two outs for Reichelt.
Unlike game one when the Bloodhounds left the bases loaded on two different occasions, Reichelt came up with a bases-clearing double that gave Fort Madison a 3-0 lead.
“Next thing I know we had two outs and the bases loaded and I thought, ‘Here we go again,’” Walker said. “Then Brandon Reichelt delivered a nice three-run double with two outs that really set the tone for the night.”
Cordray hit his only real snag the following inning, as the Demons loaded the bases on three walks, before plating their first run on a single to trim the lead down to 3-1.
The Bloodhounds returned the favor their next trip to the plate, starting the home half of the second with walks from Johnson and Jace Burgher before another Williams bunt single plated Johnson and moved Burgher to second. Gerdes came through with a single following a walk, plating Williams for a 6-1 Fort Madison lead.
A three-up, three-down top of the third was followed with another big inning from Fort Madison.
Fehseke walked and Burgher singled before Fehseke came all the way around to score on wild pitches. Williams then walked, leading to a Jason Thurman single that scored Burgher to push the lead to 8-1.
Gerdes then walked to load the bases again before Thurman came away with a walk of his own to bring in Williams for the 9-1 lead.
Cordray dealt the rest of the way, allowing just two more hits as Fort Madison went on to win by the final of 9-1.
“We came back in game two and competed well,” Walker said. “We had a great approach attacking the game.
“(Dayne) competed well and really attacked the zone. He was in control the whole game.”
Cordray tossed 111 pitches over his complete game, allowing just three hits and one earned run while striking out eight batters. Reichelt led the way at the plate with three RBI, while Gerdes had two RBI.
The Bloodhounds are now 7-5 on the season and will take on Washington again this Thursday at Washington.