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Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 18, 2017

Washington baseball team sweeps Chiefs

By Bill Gatchel | Jun 27, 2017
Photo by: Bill Gatchel Kiowa Keith tosses the ball toward first base for one of two double plays Monday, June 26, in the games against Keouk.

The Washington baseball team played a doubleheader against the Keokuk Chiefs in Southeast Iowa Conference action Monday, June 26, and ended the evening with a sweep.

It took nine innings, but the boys won the first game 6-5 and won the second game in 6 1/2 innings by a 5-1 final score.

At the beginning of the first game, it looked like Washington was going to control the field as Michael Gier would score first on an RBI by Zach Londberg.

Ryan Loy came home after an RBI single by Collin Zear. The game was 2-0 after the first inning.

Keokuk would have a runner in scoring position in the top of the second, but a double play by Zear, on the pitcher’s mound, would catch the pop for an out and the quick throw to the leadoff runner at third would end the inning.

In the bottom of the second, Jacob Hall scored on an RBI by Gier to give Washington a 3-0 lead.

It was a quick third and fourth inning for both teams, as neither one would score.

In the fifth, the Keokuk bats came alive as they would put up four runs to take control of the lead as Washington wouldn’t have a chance to score in the bottom of the fifth.

The top of the sixth inning was a short one for Keokuk as a double play by Kiowa Keith and Luke Turner would get the first two outs. The third out came from a strikeout.

After a ground ball to center field by Gier, Noah Enfield would score from second base to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth.

Keokuk put up a run in the top of the seventh to briefly regain the lead, but Brant Stout would cross the plate as a courtesy runner for Londberg.

Stout came home on a wild throw to send the game into extra innings.

There was no change in score for either team after the eighth inning and Keokuk was held back in the top of the ninth.

Washington had a chance to score late in the ninth after Aaron Vittetoe was intentionally walked to load the bases. The winning run came home after Keith was walked, bringing in Londberg to get the win.

In the second game,  Washington kept their scoring momentum going as Gier scored on an RBI double by Zear.

In the bottom of the second, Turner scored on a sacrifice bunt by Enfield and Gier came home on a pop to center field by Londberg.

Washington led the score 3-0 after two.

The Demons scored again in the bottom of the third when Keith scored on a balk by the Keokuk pitcher, giving Washington a 4-0 lead after three.

Washington didn’t let up in the fifth as Londberg scored on a wild throw to first base, putting Washington up 5-0.

Keokuk scored their lone run in the fifth inning on a wild throw, but that would round out the scoring for both teams as runners would be left stranded on the base.

The game ended when Keith would make a diving catch for a quick toss to Turner for an out at second.

Turner would quickly throw the ball to first base for their second double play of the night to get the win.

Coach Nathan Miller is pleased at the outcomes of both games.

“What I really liked about the first game is that we battled back,” he says.

“We gave up the lead in the fifth inning. Keokuk scored all four without the ball leaving the infield.

“That’s just us needing to slow down and get outs to minimize the inning.

“Our guys battled back and tied the game in the bottom of the sixth, they scored again and we tied the game one more time.

“Keokuk is just a team that was not willing to give in. They battled back. We put together good at-bats, we ran the bases really well and found a way to win.

“We had a great start from Collin Zear. Kiowa Keith came in and did a great job in relief.

“In the second game, Jacob Hall pitched a three-hitter. He had a two-hitter going into the last inning.

“He gave up a little single in the seventh, but outside of that we had outstanding defense.

“That was one of our best defensive games all year and it ended with probably the best defensive play we’ve had all year with the diving stop by Kiowa with the toss to second and the throw across for the double play.

Keith says when he sees the ball coming toward him his first thought is to lay out.

“I’m thinking I need to do anything to stop it,” he says. “It was a nice way to end the game.

“There was a runner on first. Second was the easiest bag. If you lay out for the second, he can’t get to third.”

Getting double plays like that is a good feeling, he adds.

“It gives you a feeling of confidence that you can keep going on in the season.”

It’s also about teamwork.

“Working together with Luke [Turner] and returning two double plays tonight, gives us both a lot of confidence.”

As the boys get ready to play at Central Lee Wednesday, June 28, there is one focus.

“We have to get back to hitting,” Miller says. “We haven’t swung the bats like we are capable of doing last week and today.

“We want to get back and focus on driving the baseball, letting it travel and get it into our zone and driving it.”

The game at Central Lee starts at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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