DIXON – Dukes starting pitcher Eli Dever found himself in a bit of a jam in the top of the first inning Tuesday at Veterans Memorial Field as Dixon took on North Boone.
A leadoff single and a pair of walks left the bases loaded with one out, and North Boone had a chance to break things open early.
But Dever struck out the next batter looking, then got a line drive to shortstop to end the threat.
Meanwhile, Dixon answered in the bottom of the inning, then added to it later on for a 10-0 win in five innings over the Vikings.
“I had to get tunnel vision,” Dever said. “I had to keep in my head, not show any emotion, try to stay in the game and not think about the runners.”
Dever finished with nine strikeouts and three walks in four innings, allowing no runs and four hits and leaving seven baserunners stranded.
“I think what you saw there was a combination, not just the pitcher but the catcher,” Dixon coach Jason Burgess said. “Beau Evans really did a great job today calling the game and working with what was working well for Eli. Together, they did a good job figuring out what pitches would go in what spots.”
The Dukes (2-0, 1-0 Big Northern) started hot at the plate, scoring three in the bottom of the first. With two on and two out, Andrew Pollom stole third and scored when the throw from Vikings catcher James Linn sailed into left field.
“Andrew, that was a read, that wasn’t a sign given,” Burgess said. “It was just instinctive baseball seeing he could get that jump and take third. He catalyzed that whole inning for us. For me, that’s just baseball instincts and baseball prowess out of one of our better senior leaders.”
Evans followed with an RBI triple to drive in Dever moments later, and courtesy runner Kaden Mulligan scored on an error.
North Boone was able to threaten in the second and third innings, but could not score against Dever.
In the second, Isaac Urtiz lined a two-out double to left, then stole third, but a strikeout ended the threat.
Trey Braun led off the third with a single and stole second in bizarre fashion. Chandler Alderman took ball three, but assumed it was ball four and started to trot down to first, leading Braun to head to second. The umpire brought Alderman back to the batter’s box, but Braun stayed at second. He ended up at third when Alderman grounded out to first moments later, but was stranded there when a strikeout ended the inning.
Michael Ulrich came on in relief to pitch the fifth, allowing a one-out single to Logan Emanuel before Alderman hit a chopper up the middle to Dukes shortstop Pollom, who stepped on the bag and threw to first for the 6-3 double play.
Alderman, North Boone’s starter, retired the Dukes in order in the second and third innings, but in the fourth the Dukes got to reliever Connor Nolen.
Dixon loaded the bases with no one out on a single and a pair of walks. Griffey Rodriguez hit a pop-up that Nolen couldn’t corral. Rodriguez was out on the infield fly rule, but Ulrich raced home from third. Max Clark then scored when Ryan Pitzer hit a sacrifice fly to center.
In the fifth, Hayden Steinmeyer led off with a double and scored on a single by Evans. Later in the inning, with two outs and the bases loaded, Pitzer singled to left to score two more.
Dever finished it off with a two-run single to left to drive in Pitzer and Ethan Van Horn, invoking the run rule.
“I was just trying to drive one away,” Dever said. “That didn’t work, I got it on the left side, but it worked out and did exactly what I needed to.”