Jordan Dahlhauser was sitting on top of the world Sunday afternoon after the Cottage Grove Firemen beat Columbus 17-1 in seven innings in Home Talent League baseball action at Firemen’s Park.
Inserted into the game in the third inning after a player ejection, the tall, left-handed hitting Dahlhauser made the most of the opportunity by pounding a grand slam home run in an eight-run seventh inning that put away the Crawdads. It was only the second hit of the season in Sunday league for Dahlhauser, a regular on the Thursday night roster.
Leading 9-1 entering the seventh, eight straight Firemen reached base as Jacob Cates was hit by a pitch, Ricky Leske walked and Tristan Herber smacked an RBI single to drive home Cates. Graham Schroeder-Gasser reached base on an error as Leske hustled home, Herber scored on a wild pitch, and Paul Patten rifled a double to score Cottage Grove’s fourth run of the inning. Donnie Bryant singled and Anthony Brotz walked to load the bases for Dahlhauser, who cracked a pitch over the right field fence to send all three runners home.
“It was a belt-high fast ball,” Dahlhauser said. “It’s a big confidence boost for me. I’ve been struggling at the plate. I’ve been working on a lot of different things in the cage. To finally see your work pay off is huge. It means you are doing the right things and taking the right steps.”
It was a magnificent turnover for the Firemen, who lost to Columbus 11-2 in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader.
The bats started going to work in the third inning when Leske led off with a walk and one out later, Schroeder-Gasser was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second for Patten, who clubbed a double to score two runs.
The Firemen added six more runs in the fourth on just two hits as the Crawdads committed two errors, and hitters reached base on two walks and two hit batsmen. Bortz had an RBI single and Daniel Karlin-Kamin knocked in two more with a base hit. Cottage Grove had 12 hits, three by Patten and two by Karlin-Kamin and Bortz.
Starting pitcher Pat Hawker earned the complete game win with 11 strikeouts and only four hits allowed in seven innings.
“We had limited pitching today, so the strategy was to throw strikes and let the defense give us support,” Hawker said.
Cottage Grove hosts Monona on Friday night in a Sunday league makeup game with the first pitch scheduled for 8 p.m.
Columbus 11, Firemen 2
Sloppy fielding and lack of clutch hitting hurt Cottage Grove in the first game against the Crawdads. The Firemen left 12 men on base and committed five errors as Columbus jumped out to a 5-0 lead after four innings.
Cottage Grove still had a chance as it trailed 6-2 after eight innings, but Columbus notched five runs in the ninth to blow the game open.
Newcomer Jordon Gomez threw well in nine innings with eight strikeouts and one walk, but lack of support from the defense sent him to defeat. He allowed 13 hits and was charged with five earned runs.
Jake Constien led the Crawdads with three hits including a home run.
Cottage Grove had only five hits including a solo home run by Pete Strommen.