Mustang baseball overcomes early deficit for the postseason victory

Andrew Brown - Sports Reporter
DCG senior Bryce Jermier takes a cut at a pitch Monday, July 20 against Carroll in the Substate 8 semi-final in Dallas Center. PHOTO BY ANDREW BROWN/DALLAS COUNTY NEWS

An early game deficit was not enough to keep the Dallas Center-Grimes baseball team from their winning ways Monday, July 20 as they battled Carroll in the Substate 8 semi-final game held in Dallas Center.

Aside from a 1-0 deficit following the second inning, DCG never looked back and never again faced a deficit as they took care of the visiting Tigers 7-1. That score came on a night where the Mustangs once again found ways to be productive other than just with the bat. Overall the Mustangs captured five hits but also utilized five walks to defeat the Tigers for the eighth time in the past nine meetings dating back to the 2009 season. That marks the second time this postseason that DCG baseball has had to work from behind early.

“That’s the second time we’ve been down early in the game,” began head coach Byron Peyton. “It was actually good for us because we had to battle back. You’ve got to score at least one to win, there’s something about being down that acts as a great motivator.”

The DCG offense sure was motivated and then some and it showed as the team posted up four runs in the bottom half of the third to quickly capture their first and only needed lead of the game. DCG’s scoring efforts began with Caden Grimes crossing the plate on a wild pitch to even up the score at 1-1. Quickly following that, senior Colby Wigham doubled on a line drive to center (his eighth of the season) which plated two for the 3-1 DCG lead. Wigham later came around to score on a Cody Hall single to right field (12th of the season), and the Mustangs would hold a 4-1 lead as both teams took to the fourth inning.

DCG ended up finding the plate across the next two innings as well including the fourth inning. That’s when Isaac Boley captured his tenth RBI of the season, plating one run on a sacrifice fly to right field for a 5-1 Mustang advantage heading into the fifth inning.

“I think we did a good job of being patient at the plate overall on the night,” began coach Peyton. “For the most part, I thought we put together a lot of pretty good at-bats and everyone just kept playing and we let them come to us.”

In total, all five of Dallas Center-Grimes’ hits came from five different players. It also showed how efficient the Mustang line up can be as the Mustangs matched the visiting Tigers in hits (five) but produced six more runs in the process.

Following a Caleb Dicken double (his seventh of the season) to kick off the bottom of the fifth, Jordan Sedivec provided the biggest fireworks display of the night. The junior blasted a two-strike pitch and deposited the ball over the left-field fence for his first home run of the 2020 campaign. Just that one swing of the bat added two more RBI on to Sedivec’s total (18 on the season) and added some late-game insurance runs for the Mustangs, now bolstering their lead to 7-1. That is how the game would come to an end after Carroll produced just one more hit the rest of the way, thus ending the season for the Tigers and advancing the home-town Mustangs on to the substate final battle.

On the mound, it was a pitcher-by-committee night as four Mustangs graced the mound for the contest. While Logan Smith began the contest, striking out one and not allowing a first-inning hit of any kind, it was fellow senior Chase Stratton to pick up the win on the night, his first of the 2020 campaign.

“Chase did a good job here tonight and other than the home run, they (Carroll) didn’t really get a hard-hit ball off of him,” said Peyton. “He pitched pretty well tonight and did what we asked of him tonight.”

Stratton’s methods were effective for the most part as the senior started off 12 of the 15 batters he faced with first-pitch strikes. Overall, Stratton found the strike zone quite often totaling 30 strikes in 47 total pitches thrown. Stratton ended up going three and two-thirds innings of work and allowed just four hits while striking out a pair of Carroll batters and walking just one. The single home run in the second was the only earned run Stratton or anyone on the DCG pitching staff allowed Monday night. Huston Halverson came into to make quick work of things on the mound as well, striking out two and not allowing a single hit through 17 pitches thrown. Caleb Spence rounded out the night and tossed one strikeout of his own through his ten pitches thrown in the contest.

The win for the Mustangs officially grants them a spot in the Substate 8 title game where they will face their toughest battle yet in the storied Harlan Cyclones program who fell just short of a tenth straight state tournament appearance last season. This will be the eleventh overall meeting between these two squads dating back to the 2009 season. It’s interesting that the game to go to state would be against the Cyclones as Harlan has had DCG’s number at Principal Park, besting the Mustangs in all three state tournament meetings between the two teams.

This will be the second time this season these two teams will battle, and the Mustangs look to even up the score with a win from Dallas Center. Should the Mustangs come out victoriously on Wednesday, July 22, it would make history as the first time DCG baseball would have clinched a state tournament berth within the confines of their home field. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.