DCG baseball, softball win key conference games
After a rough patch last week, the Mustangs found more than a handful of positive moments this week. (Note: Games covered June 8-12)
This week was another lesson in looking beyond the win and loss column. After starting 3-8 in the first 11 games of the season, the Mustangs bounced back to win five of their last seven games, including a few to put up on the marquee.
In a doubleheader Wednesday against Pella Christian — which started the year off as one of the best Class 2A teams — the Mustangs won by a combined core of 9-2. That was followed up with a 2-0 loss to Pella (9-7), putting a little dip in DCG’s Little Hawkeye stock on Friday.
Back on the road Saturday for a doubleheader with Norwalk (12-8), the Mustangs brought their stock right back up thanks to wins of 6-2 and 1-0. As a measuring stick, the Warriors won last year’s doubleheader.
Putting himself on centerstage, first baseman Clayton Campidilli sent two balls into a new zip code to collect his fourth and fifth home runs of the season, bringing in four of DCG’s six runs for the game.
On the opposite side, Keaton Fenn was on the mound for Game 2, pitching a seven-inning shutout thanks to a career-best 15 strikeouts. That is tied for the 11th most by any player in Iowa this season, and most among Little Hawkeye players.
Continuing strong play against brand name programs, on Sunday, the Mustangs won a 5-4 game against Des Moines Christian (11-7) after falling behind by three runs in the first inning. Kyle Snyder stepped with a two hit, two RBI performance to help propel the win. The Mustangs would fall behind 3-0 in the next game against Gilbert (10-4) but could only muster two runs in the fourth inning, falling just short of the Tigers.
The Mustangs had a chance this week to put themselves at the top of the conference standings this week with a game advantage. But thanks to splitting Saturday’s doubleheader with Norwalk, the race for first place just tightened up some more.
After five scoreless — nearly hitless innings — the Warriors finally woke up the scoreboard operator to get the 1-0 edge in the first game, overcoming the nine strikeouts that Dallas Center’s Camila Rodriguez threw. But with the Mustangs getting just two combined hits from Elle Nelsen and Lydia Zaruba at the top of the order, the offense couldn’t back up that ace performance.
The next game had all the markers of the first matchup, a certifiable pitchers duel with vacant bases. Tied up 1-1 through seven innings, the Mustangs found themselves in their extra inning appearance this year and let it rip. At the top of the order, Nelsen and Zaruba along with Aubrey Johansen celebrated Reese Burke’s double, earning her title as the cleanup hitter by emptying the loaded bases. Norwalk was able to find one run as well in the eighth inning but fell 4-2 thanks to that clutch hit.
As of Monday, the Mustangs are tied with Indianola at 7-1 in conference play for second place, a half game behind Norwalk at 8-1. With a win over Indianola already, the conference crown may be effectively decided with the June 27 home game against the Warriors.
Back to non-league play, the Mustangs won all three of their games at the John Stephens Classic in Creston with wins over Central Decatur, Knoxville and Creston. Of that group, it was the 7-5 win against the host school that made the most noise.
After grabbing a 4-1 lead in the first inning, Mustangs foot slipped off the gas and allowed Creston to take a 5-4 lead heading into the final inning. But just like the second Norwalk game, playmakers stepped up in the 11th hour for the win with three unanswered runs. Nelsen and Zaruba both scored two runs for the game. Macee Reiling led the team with two RBI.