BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
FORT MADISON – One of Fort Madison’s two baseball losses in Southeast Conference play came at Washington in the second game of a doubleheader earlier this season.
It was something Bloodhounds coach Ron Walker thought about in the second game of Monday’s doubleheader against the Demons.
This time, though, the Bloodhounds came away with a sweep.
The 8-4 win in the first game and the 10-3 win in the second game had their moments and mistakes, but the Bloodhounds (16-3 overall, 10-2 conference) kept pace with Burlington at the top of the league standings.
“We never played our best baseball, but we played well for the most part,” Walker said. “We had guys stepping up all night.”
The Demons (9-7, 6-6) certainly challenged the Bloodhounds, much like they did back on June 3, when they took the second game of the doubleheader 4-3.
This time Washington had a 3-2 lead after three innings, but the Bloodhounds took command with a six-run fifth inning and two runs in the sixth.
Two baserunning mistakes kept the Demons from more early runs. Reece Mayer was picked off first base in the first inning. Then in the third, Fort Madison’s Vasin Thurman made a smart play on another baserunning blunder.
Washington had one run in and had runners on second and third with nobody out. Ethan Zieglowsky hit a ground ball to Fort Madison third baseman Aidan Pennock, who threw to Thurman at first for the out. Ethan Patterson, who was on second base, started to run to third, but Jacob Miller was still at the base. Thurman ran at Patterson and trapped him, tagging him out without making a throw. Mayer then singled to right field to drive in a run, but the inning could have been worse.
“Instead of throwing the ball around and creating a snowball fight, he ran right at him,” Walker said. “It was a smart play, especially after the next guy up got a hit.”
Fort Madison’s offense erupted in the fifth. Thurman, who drove in five runs in the game — three came on sacrifice flies — had a two-run single in the inning, as did Pennock. The Bloodhounds also took advantage of two Washington errors.
Kane Williams was the winning pitcher.
Fort Madison scored all of their first-game runs in the first three innings. Washington got all of its runs in the fourth, three coming on a home run by Wilx Witthoft.
Washington had a chance for more runs in the sixth, loading the bases with no one out. But Jason Thurman, who entered the game in relief of winning pitcher Landes Williams, struck out the next three hitters to end the inning.
It was one of two situations in which the Bloodhounds got out of bases-loaded jams — the other came in the sixth inning of the second game.
“That’s one of the things we have to be careful of, we can’t dig ourselves a hole,” Walker said. “First game they had bases loaded and nobody out and we got out of it. Second game they had bases loaded, and we got out of it. It’s good to be on the right side of it.”