Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 20, 2018

Washington baseball team ends season with loss to Assumption

By Bill Gatchel | Jul 18, 2017
Photo by: Bill Gatchel Bryce Craff leads off first base after being walked in the game against Davenport Assumption Monday, July 17.

The Washington baseball team faced a tough opponent Monday, July 17, as they were challenged by Davenport Assumption in the Class 3A District 9 finals.

It was a tough game for the Demons as Assumption pitcher Trenton Wallace would go through the entire evening on the mound throwing a no-hitter and only walking one in the game.

Jacob Hall started the game as pitcher for Washington, where he gave up two runs in the first inning.

He gave up two more in the second, putting the Knights up 4-0 after two.

After a fifth run scored at the beginning of the third inning, Kiowa Keith took to the mound for the Demons, where he gave up another four runs in the inning, putting the game at 9-0 in Assumption’s favor.

In the fourth, Bryce Craff got on first base by being walked; the only Demon to get on base the entire game.

In an attempt to steal second base, he was tagged out. The final three runs scored in the bottom of the fourth for Assumption, and essentially ended the game and the season for Washington.

Even though the season is over, coach Nathan Miller is proud of the team and how they did on the field.

“Sometimes with baseball, you run into a guy on the mound that you just have to tip your hat.

“He was outstanding, there’s no doubt about it. In my 13 years, I’ve coached a lot of games. He’s the best pitcher I’ve coached against on the mound.

“Single-handedly, just coming into tonight he had a .37 ERA. He’s only allowed five runs all year, two of them earned in his conference.

“You can see why he’s such a dominant pitcher. He throws hard and with movement.

“He’s able to throw a breaking ball for a strike. You just have to tip your hat to him.

“Our kids battled. Not very many of our guys went down looking. They went down swinging. They were looking after it. Our timing with him was just a little behind.”

For pitcher Jacob Hall, he put in a great effort, Miller says.

“The first two runs of the game were unearned,” he says.

“We just didn’t play well defensively. We looked a little tight. Jacob has been a battler for us all season.

“He relies on his curve ball and spotting up his fastball in the outer half.

“He just didn’t have his curve ball tonight. It became one-dimensional.

“Anytime you’re facing a really good team and you can’t throw at least two pitches across the plate, you’re going to be in trouble.

“It’s kind of the same thing with Kiowa. He’s had a good breaking ball all season, but for tonight, for some reason, both guys just struggled with their off-speed pitches.

“When you go one dimensional, a good team is going to look for one pitch and they struck it well.”

Looking back at the entire season, it was a season of adversity, Miller says.

“I’ve said it numerous times. We literally had all kinds of different guys playing in different roles this year due to a lot of injuries.

“We lost Bryce Craff, Noah Enfield for a couple of weeks. We lost Michael Gier and Zach Londberg for a little bit and Dakota Kron has been out for some time with some things.

“When you look at the box scores of the games, outside of this game and the one against Mt. Pleasant, there’s really not a lot of games that we weren’t in. They were always very tight.”

Part of the team was the seniors and they will be missed.

“We’re going to miss these seniors,” Miller says.

“They’ve done a fantastic job leading and that’s the thing we’re going to miss.

“I haven’t looked up the number of combined games these seniors have played, but Kron, Craff, [Collin] Zear, [Ryan] Loy, Londberg and Gier were each four-year guys. [Aaron] Vittetoe was a three-year guy and [Noah] Enfield was a two-year guy.

“When you start adding up all their innings that they’ve played. It’s quite a bit of experience.”

Miller is also happy to see five of the seniors continuing to play baseball after high school.

“Dakota and Zach are going to play at Marshalltown, Gier is going to Ellsworth Community College [in Iowa Falls], Zear is going to Cornell and Bryce is going to try and play at Central College.

There’s more to being a coach, than just coaching.

“Why I do this is because I love seeing the growth and development of our kids,” Miller says.

“We were 18-16 this year, but every single person knows that when they play Washington, they are going to get a competitive team no matter what our record is.”

Even though the team is losing the eight seniors to graduation this year, things are in place from a leadership standpoint to replace them.

“We have things established and built now. Jacob Hall, Landon Hinckley, Kiowa Keith, Cale Hobscheidt and Erik Murphy will take the ball and roll with it. I think they will do a great job from the leadership standpoint.

“Our sophomores have put in a lot of time, Kole Hinrichsen, Chase McDole and Luke Turner.

“Those guys are terrific as well. From a leadership standpoint, there are some places to fill.

“The one thing we will need next year is the guys who have the experience to step in and make sure they lead in the right way.”

Miller is already looking forward to new teammates next year.

“Our JV had a really successful season this year. We have some really good athletes coming up.

“We’re excited about that group. We will see what we have when springtime comes next year.”

Comments (1)
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Aug 01, 2017 14:02
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