As the calender turned to the month of July, the Dallas Center-Grimes baseball team was engaged in a tight conference battle with Pella Monday, July 1 in Grimes.
Thanks to a two run bottom of the sixth, the Mustang offense propelled themselves to their 19th win of the season courtesy of a 4-3 final.
In order to keep their hopes at at conference title alive, the Mustangs had to go out and play well, and play well they sure did. They made the most out of the seven hits they collected as which included a pair of doubles, a trio of walks equalling four runs crossing the plate.
Despite the thrilling ending, it was the visiting Pella Dutch who held the upper-hand early as a solo blast and a sacrifice ground-out put the visitors up 2-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning. That’s where the hometown Mustangs began their offensive run for the night. Like Noah’s Arc, the scoring came in two’s beginning in the fourth where a Cody Hall sacrifice ground-out and an error equalized the game for the Mustangs at 2-2.
While the offense found their rhythm, the man on the mound, senior Garrett Anderson, was tossing a pure gem of a game which began with six strikeouts through the first three innings of play. It was a strong contribution from the future Buena Vista pitching star up against a strong hitting team such as Pella. Despite giving up seven hits in the contest, Anderson employed a bend but not break mentality, something not lost on the likes of head coach Byron Peyton.
“It truly was a bend but not break performance for Garrett tonight,” began Peyton. “He was very reliable and you could see all the work that he puts in studying and analyzing the game come through today.”
In the end, Garrett’s statistical performance included 89 pitches thrown, dishing out seven strikeouts, and suffering just two earned runs on seven hits. It was a performance that had a lot of skill behind it but as the man on the mound described it, it was all about timing.
“Pella is a really good hitting team and my coaches, my catcher and I thought that the best way to defeat a team like that is to throw off their timing,” said Anderson. “That’s where my slider and other off-speed pitches came into play. With good location I knew that even if they had solid contact, the hits wouldn’t cause too much damage.”
In fact, not many of Pella’s seven hits cause much damage at all. With over 50 percent of all Anderson’s off-speed pitches thrown for strikes or hit into outs, the potent Pella squad could only watch on as the DC-G senior carved them up on the mound.
Offensively, the Mustangs needed yet another answer to a Pella rally with occurred in the sixth. After the visiting Dutch recaptured the lead, now 3-2, Dallas Center-Grimes teamed up to capture two more runs in the bottom half of the sixth to put the lead on their side 4-3. That was all punctuated by junior Logan Smith belting his 19th RBI of the season on a run scoring double to left center field which officially put the Mustangs back on top. It also marked Smith’s sixth double earned on the season. It was a huge piece of contact in a big situation that wowed the likes of coach Peyton.
“We just needed a ball in play at the very least but Logan stayed back and kept his form level and drove it pretty, hard and almost gave us more than what we needed,” said Peyton. “That was a big time hit that not only kept us in the game but kept momentum on our side.”
It also marked a great learning game for the Mustangs.
“While there were some mistakes that we need to correct, I really liked how our offense battled back twice to beat such a strong team like Pella,” said Peyton. “It’s tough to be patient at the plate when you are down but these guys did just that and it ended up being the type of offensive night that we need to try and replicate if we want to go far into the postseason.”
Overall, juniors Isaac Boley and Logan Smith both knocked in two-hit games. Bryce Jermier, Brady Nicolet, and Kyle Endsley all added one hit each to the cause.
As of Tuesday, July 2, the Mustangs yield an overall record of 19-10 and rest with a conference mark of 13-5 which currently constitutes as the best mark in the Little Hawkeye Conference.