Table being set for the Southeast Conference title Monday at BHS
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Vasin Thurman was dealing in Wednesday night’s 5-0 win in the second game of a twinbill with Fairfield.
The senior hurler came on in relief of starter Reiburn Turnbull, who was having some control issues through two and half, and slammed the door on the Trojans.
Thurman showed up with the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the third and struck out the next two hitters swinging, then coaxed a routine groundout to Garrett Hannum at second to retire the side. He would allow just three more base runners, two on walks, and would shut the door in the top of the 7th by striking out Isaac Harris.
In the really-weird-stat category, Thurman is also second in the state in sacrifice flies with seven.
Fort Madison put up two runs each in the first and second inning. Landes Williams would lead off with a single and swipe second before Jason Thurman followed with a single. Thurman would then get caught in a run down trying to take second. Williams, not one to sit around and watch the action, scored while the Trojans were playing catch between first and second.
Vasin Thurman would then ground out for the second out. Turnbull would reach on an error at second and Tate Johnson and Garrett Hannum would each draw a walk. Turnbull scored on a wild pitch and Johnson, who doesn’t like to stay at any base too long, would steal third and then get caught trying to score on a wild pitch to end the inning.
Turnbull would work out of a bases load jam with one out in the top of the second with a couple of fly balls and then the Hounds got two more in the bottom half when Jason Thurman laced a two-out double to center collecting two RBI.
Turnbull got into a bit of mess in the top of third giving up two singles and a walk to start the frame. Skipper Ron Walker started to feel bad for the junior and went and got him, and then Thurman went to work baffling the Trojans for about five innings.
The Hounds would add an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Johnson scored on an RBI single from Aidan Pennock.
Williams and Jason Thurman each had two hits in the win. Williams scored two runs and Thurman drove in two. Johnson and Pennock had the other two hits for the Hounds. Turnbull got the win surrendering two hits and five walks in two complete innings while fanning one.
Thurman struck out eight, six swinging, and walked two while scattering a couple hits.
In the opener the Hounds (19-4, 12-2 in the Southeast) rolled to a 9-1 win behind sophomore Kane Williams’ one-run effort on the mound. The Hounds struck out eight and walked three, while allowing seven hits and just one run earned.
Johnson went 3-for-3 including two triples in his first two at bats, racking up 3 RBI and two runs scored to lead Fort Madison in the win.
The Hounds put up three runs in the third all courtesy of Johnson. The Hounds had the bases loaded with one out on three walks. Turnbull would fan for the second out, then Johnson hit the third offering from Harris to deep center scoring everyone. Johnson, who always has thoughts of an inside-the-park job, got the “Whoa” sign from Walker around third.
Fort Madison would get a couple more in the fourth on a wild pitch and a patented Vasin Thurman sac fly, and then add three more in the bottom of fifth as pitching control abandoned the Trojans.
Johnson would get plunked and not like that very much, so he went out and stole third and home after a walk to Pennock. Pennock would come around to score on more Trojan pitching woes, and then Kane Williams would drive in Colton Engeman with a single to center.
Williams would get into a little trouble in the top of the seventh with the bases loaded and one out, but he got Connor Lyons swinging and Dylan Hunter popped out to the mound to end the game.
Pennock, Johnson and Williams all scored two runs in the game for Fort Madison. Landes Williams, Jason Thurman, Hannum, Engeman and Kane Williams all had hits in the win.
Fort Madison has two Thursday night against the struggling Panthers (5-15) in Mt. Pleasant. And then everyone needs to pile in the back of WM Johnson truck and pour into the stands at Burlington High School Monday for what will, in all likelihood, determine the Southeast Conference championship Monday night at Burlington High School.
The Grayhounds are 11-1 in the Southeast, one game ahead of Fort Madison’s 12-2 mark. The two split a double header back on June 17. The Bloodhounds are likely to see the pesky Juan Reyes who’s one of the best pitchers in the state at 5-0 on the year with 41 strikeouts and a thin 1.66 ERA. Reyes has shut out the Hounds his last two outings in Fort Madison.
Burlington has postponed their last four games due to weather. They have a doubleheader Thursday night in Keokuk (2-20) and then a doubleheader Friday against Mt. Pleasant (5-15) before the showdown Monday with the Hounds.