WASHINGTON — It was a pair of pitchers’ duels during a doubleheader Tuesday at Dick Sojka Field, but the defense won the day for Ft. Madison as the Bloodhounds swept the Southeast Conference baseball doubleheader from Washington 3-1 and 4-1.
Of the seven runs Washington allowed, only one was earned.
The Demons committed more errors than the visitors scored runs, 8-7.
“There are three phases to baseball — pitching, defense and offense,” Washington coach Nathan Miller said. “The first two are the most important. If you are successful in those two, you are going to have a chance to win. Our Achilles’ heel right now is our defense. That has to change.”
Fort Madison had both of its pitchers toss complete games for victories. Ft. Madison’s Landes Williams struck out six with four hits and no walks and gave up a solo home run to Reece Mayer with two outs in the seventh inning of the opener.
The Demons’ Trevor Quigley got a hit to lead off the bottom of the first but he was thrown out at second base on a botched hit and run. The Demons went down in order the next three innings. Brady Knutson singled in the fifth but was erased on a fielder’s choice. The Demons threatened again in the sixth when Patterson got a hit but a fly out ended the threat.
Lucas Patterson went six innings with just two hits and two walks allowed with five strikeouts. Brady Knutson pitched the seventh and gave up a walk and a hit for the only Ft. Madison earned run of the night.
Washington’s Lucas Kroll pitched a complete game in the nightcap with four strikeouts, three hits and a walk.
“Right now, we are pitching great,” Miller said. “Even in our 14-3 lost Mt. Pleasant last week, we only gave up four hits. There were a few too many walks, but ultimately we did enough to hold ourselves in that game.”
Ft. Madison’s Kane Williams gave up three walks, two hits and struck out three in his win. He set the Demons down in order in the last four innings.
“We were hoping to get four or five innings out of each starter, but when we got here the wind was blowing in and I think that helped us,” Ft. Madison coach Ron Walker said. “We just pitched in the zone and let our defense do the work. We take a lot of pride in our defense.”
Ethan Zieglowsky and Patterson had the Demon hits in the second game. Kroll walked, advanced on Zieglowsky’s hit and scored on a throwing error.
“Offensively we continue to battle and had some good swings,” Miller said. “Balls just went right to the defenders and that is part of the game.
“What I am seeing with our errors is we are not applying what we are working on in practice. We are committing errors on things that we work on daily. We are reverting to bad habits. We need guys to apply what we are doing in practice. Another thing is the mental thing. A lot of our errors tonight were from throwing. That is us mentally thinking I’m going to get the throw across, but our throws are not there. We are going to continue to plug away and we are going to improve.”
This was the official conference opener and the Demons are 0-2 and 2-3 overall. Ft. Madison is 4-1, 2-0.
“What I talked to the guys about is this is a challenge of our will, where are we going to go from here on out,” Miller said. “We can go through the process and look to improve and shore up some things or we are going to have guys that will float. Our challenge is to come together. We have to come to practice and get after it.”
The mental part was obvious in a couple of free bases Ft. Madison wwas gifted,
“We didn’t have guys covering second when they had runners on first and third a couple times in a row and that is just not acceptable,” Miller said. “These are all fixable if our guys just apply what we are doing in practice.”