It was only a matter of time before the Western Dubuque baseball team got healthy and started hitting the ball, and if last week is any indication, a renewed offense and strong pitching has the Bobcats poised to make another strong postseason run. A 4-1 week has the Bobcats sitting 25-6 overall and 19-5 in the Mississippi Valley Conference.
After dropping a tough 1-0 first game to City High in Iowa City, July 1, the Bobcats got the bats warmed up in the nightcap to take a 7-4 decision. The offensive fireworks continued as Western Dubuque took a 9-0 decision from Williamsburg at Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids, July 3, before taking two at Waterloo West, 15-3 and 10-0, July 5.
“We broke out of a week-long offensive slump,” said Western Dubuque coach Casey Bryant.
“Our pitching continues to shine and we are finally getting healthy.”
Sam Goodman took a tough 1-0 loss in game one at Iowa City, allowing a run on six hits while striking out six. City High scored on a bases loaded fielder’s choice in the fourth for the only run of the contest, and while the Bobcats advanced as far as third base in the final two at bats, City High’s Rye Threlkeld-Wiegan and Sam Lewers combined for the shutout and the win.
Western Dubuque managed four hits. Matt Maiers doubled, while Damon Jaeger, Goodman and Zach Bierman had singles.
Things didn’t look good to start game two, as the Little Hawks jumped to a 3-0 lead, but a pair of home runs and a solid mound performance from Kyle Lehmann led to a gritty 7-4 win for the Bobcats.
Lehmann got Western Dubuque on the board in the second with a solo homer, and after Calvin Harris reached with a double to lead off the third, Lehmann’s second round tripper of the day tied things at 3-3.
City regained the lead with a run in the fifth, but the Bobcats answered immediately with a four run sixth as Goodman doubled and scored on a Lehmann single and Bierman followed with a two-RBI single, scoring Harris, who had walked, and Lehmann. Payton Quagliano made it 7-4 with an RBI single to score Bierman.
Lehmann went the distance on the hill, allowing four runs on six hits. Offensively, Lehmann’s 3-for-3 performance and two home runs led the way, while Bierman was 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Will Burds was 2-for-3, while Goodman, Harris, Quagliano and Maiers were 1-for-3 with Quagliano having one RBI.
At Veterans Stadium in Cedar Rapids, better known as the home of the Kernels, three runs in the first inning and five more in the third gave Carter Kluesner all the cushion needed as the Bobcats took a 9-0 five inning win over Williamsburg.
Lehmann and Bierman had RBI singles in the first to get things started, and Maiers, Lehmann and Casey Perrenoud drove in runs with base hits in the second to end the inning 8-0. Ben Bryant doubled and scored on a Kluesner single in the fourth to make it 9-0 and that’s how it ended.
Kluesner allowed only three hits and struck out six in five innings of work to get the win, while offensively, Lehmann was 2-for-3 with three RBIs, Perrenoud 2-for-3 with one RBI, Maiers, Bierman and Kluesner 1-for-3 with one RBI, Quagliano and Bryant 1-for-3 and Jaeger 1-for-4.
A July 5 double-dip at Waterloo West saw the Bobcats win a pair of shortened contests, but the big story was Harris’ no-hitter in the nightcap.
Jaeger started game two with a triple, and Goodman’s double plated the first run. Bierman’s two out double then scored Lehmann and Sawyer Nauman — playing for the first time in weeks — to make it 3-0. Seven walks from West pitchers and a pair of base hits — from Jaeger and Bierman — made it 10-0 in the third.
Harris allowed only a walk in the third and struck out nine hitters to notch the no-hitter. Offensively, Bierman was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, Jaeger 2-for-3 with one RBI, Goodman and Bryant 1-for-3 with one RBI and Lehmann 1-for-3.
In the first game at Waterloo, Goodman walked and scored on a Lehmann single in the first, but West answered with a pair in the bottom of the inning and took a 3-1 lead with a run in the second.
Singles by Goodman, Lehmann and Bierman tied it in the third, and it was all Bobcats the rest of the way as Western Dubuque scored three runs in the fourth inning, five in the fifth and four more in the sixth, cruising to a 15-3 win.
Zach Bierman started on the mound for the Bobcats, but was chased after 2/3 of an inning and relieved by Casey Perrenoud, who pitched five innings allowing a run on two hits while striking out seven. Jeff Theisen pitched 1/3 of the final inning allowing one hit.
At the plate, Lehmann was 3-for-4 with two RBIs, Harris 1-for-2 with three RBIs, Goodman 2-for-3 with one RBI, Bierman and Bryant 2-for-4 with one RBI, Jaeger 1-for-4 with two RBIs, Maiers and Quagliano 1-for-2.
“We have a big week ahead,” Bryant said. “We have six conference games and a non-conference game with PV.”