BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The Bloodhounds should start calling Landes Williams – The Cooler.
Not only did the sophomore take a full-on body blow at home to save a run Thursday night, but then drove in the game winner in the sixth to preserve a 5-4 win over Mediapolis to end the Hounds regular season.
In the bottom of the sixth, trailing 3-5, Williams stepped in with two outs and the bases loaded with Hounds.
Kane Williams wore a pitch with two outs and Jace Burgher beat out an infield single to third. Garrett Hannum then took a 3-0 pitch off the shoulder to load things for Williams, who may have been looking for a little revenge.
Williams got down 0-2 after fouling the first pitch straight back and then watched a called strike. The next pitch came it a touch high for a ball, and Williams fouled off the fourth offering from the Bulldogs Regan Thornburg.
Thornburg would then shoot a fastball that came in just a bit high, but Williams went after it and drilled it into the gap in left center scoring Kane Williams and Burgher for what turned out to be the game winner at 5-4.
Jason Thurman would get plunked with the next pitch to load the bases. Brandon Reichelt would then work a full count, and with runners going, let a pitch go by for a called third strike to end the inning.
Thurman would give up a two-out single in the top of the seventh, but a pop out back to him ended the affair.
In the top of the second inning, with Fort Madison trailing 3-1 and two outs, Mediapolis had runners at second and third. The Bulldogs’ got fancy on the base paths and the Hounds countered. As Tyler Samuel tried to steal home, Jason Thurman threw to Landes Williams at the plate and Samuel plowed into the Hound trying to dislodge the ball, but was called out to end the inning at 3-1. Samuel was ejected by the home plate umpire for the collision.
The Hounds would get one back in the bottom of the second with two outs when Burgher would score on a wild pitch. Burgher singled and was moved into scoring position on a Hannum sacrifice bunt. A Landes Williams squeeze attempt ended with Kane Williams being gunned down at home and Burgher standing at third.
Burgher would go three-up, three-down in the third and fourth as both teams were held scoreless. Mepo would add a run in to the top half of five when Drayven Fenton laced a two-out RBI single to center. After a hit batter, Burgher would get out of the inning on a strike out.
The Bloodhounds would stay within one in their half of the fifth when Reichelt hit a sac fly to center scoring Williams, who had reached two slots earlier on a single to center. Vasin Thurman would ground out to short to end the inning, setting up the sixth.
Burgher would give up a single and get a pop out before FM Head Coach Ron Walker brought in Jason Thurman to try and button things up. Thurman got a strike out and fly out to retire the side and set up the sixth inning Hound rally.
Landes Williams went 2 for 3 with a double, 2 RBI and two runs scored. Jace Burgher was 2 for 3 with two runs scored. Kane Williams had a hit and a run scored, and Tate Johnson and Vasin Thurman each had hits in the win.
Jace Burger went 4 2/3 giving up four earned runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out three. Jason Thurman came on in relief and got the win throwing 2 2/3 giving up two hits and fanning three.
The Hounds (11-6, 7-3) finished the regular season on senior night where Reichelt, Burger and Brock Barnes were honored for their final season as Bloodhounds. The Hounds also honored the class of 2000 State Championship teams’ 20th anniversary during the game.
The Bloodhounds take on Mt. Pleasant on Friday at 7 p.m. in Mt. Pleasant in the first round of Class 3A District 9 bracket play. The winner will face the winner of Keokuk/Davenport Assumption in Davenport at Modern Woodman Park on Monday. All games are 7 p.m. starts.
Also in Substate 5 are Clear Creek-Amana, Fairfield, Solon and Washington.