BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The best thing you may not be watching is the Fort Madison Bloodhound baseball team.
Head Coach Ron Walker and the boys got their fourth doubleheader sweep of the year and improved to 13-2 in front of a smattering of fans and BBQ food truck at the Fort Madison High School diamond.
The Hounds downed Davenport North in the opener Wednesday night 9-1 on a complete game from Garrett Hannum, and then won 10-0 in five innings when starter Landes Williams tossed a gem allowing just one hit and only three runners to reach base in five innings of work.
A dropped third strike in the top of the second inning, and walk to the next hitter put two runners on with two outs, but a flyout to Reiburn Turnbull in deep left wiped out the inning for the Wildcats. Williams would allow just one hit in the top of the fifth while setting the rest of the Wildcats down in order until the 10-rule was invoked in the bottom of the 5th.
Vasin Thurman went 4-for-4 in the win with three runs scored and an RBI to lead Fort Madison at the plate.
The Hounds opened the scoring in the bottom of the first when Williams reached on a lead-off single to left center. After a popout to short, Thurman lined a double to left. Turnbull would fan on a full count and then Tate Johnson would drive in Williams with a double to left for a 1-0 lead.
Fort Madison would go in order in the bottom of the second, but blow the game open with four runs in the bottom of the third.
With one out, Thurman and Turnbull would both single up the middle and then Johnson would smack a two-run triple off the glove of a diving Logan Moss in right field. The ball would skip off Moss’ glove and roll to the fence. Johnson took a big round at third but was held up by Walker.
Hannum would lay down the squeeze with the speedy Johnson already half way down the line. The throw to first got away down the fence line and Hannum ended up a second. Aiden Pennock would single and Colton Engeman would follow up with an RBI single, but would get caught stealing second for the second out. Kane Williams drew a walk to put runners at 1st and 3rd, but a ground out ended the threat with the Hounds up 5-0.
Fort Madison would tack one on in the bottom of the fourth and then put another four spot up in the fifth.
Pennock singled to open the frame and after two strikeouts, Landes Williams worked a walk. Jason Thurman singled to right scoring Pennock and Williams. Vasin Thurman would then double off the fence in deep right field scoring Thurman. Thurman would advance to third and take home on back-to-back wild pitches to set the 10-run rule at 10-0.
Turnbull, Johnson, and Pennock all had multiple hit games for Fort Madison. Landes Williams scored two runs while getting the win on the mound. He struck out seven in the win.
In the opener, Johnson went 4-for-4 with 5 RBI to give him eight on the night. The junior had two doubles, a triple and single, and scored two runs.
“If it feels good coming out of the slump that I had for a couple games,” Johnson said. “I’m just seeing the ball a little better and maturing as a player.”
Walker said Johnson was locked in some struggles earlier in the week.
“He had a great game, bounced back. He went through some struggles defensively and offensively Monday night and came back locked in at practice Tuesday and had some big hits tonight,” Walker said.
Walker said the team as a whole took great at bats all night long.
“I didn’t have a lot to say after the games, just keep doing what you’re doing and playing the game hard.”
Johnson opened the scoring with one of his doubles plating Vasin Thurman and Reiburn Turnbull. Hannum would draw a walk and Engeman would get hit by a pitch to load the bases. Matt Hopper would draw walk on seven pitches to bring Johnson around for a 3-0 lead and Hannum would score on a wild pitch before a fly out ended the inning.
Hannum would give up a double to start the second but then sit the Wildcats down in order.
Fort Madison would put up two more runs in the bottom of the second and two in the bottom of the fourth. Davenport North scored their only run of the night in the top of the fourth inning when Cody Baumer would score from third on a fielder’s choice.
The Hounds added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth and Hannum held Davenport in check the rest of the way for the win. He gave up eight hits and struck out five while not issuing a base on balls.
Jason Thurman had three hits on the night. Williams, Vasin Thurman and Turnbull had the other hits for the Hounds.
Walker said the Wildcats just came off sweeping Central DeWitt, which is ranked as the No. 3 team in the state in Class 3A. North plays in 4A.
“Obviously we didn’t see the same arms they did tonight, but its the same offense on the field. So we played great tonight and we’ll have a good contest tomorrow,” he said.
Fort Madison takes on Burlington (11-3, 8-0) in Southeast Conference showdown doubleheader Thursday night in Fort Madison. The Hounds trail the Grayhounds by one game in conference action at 7-1.