After using four pitchers in a doubleheader-opening loss to Assumption, Davenport West was going to need a gritty effort from its staff to earn a split Tuesday night.
Izaiah Schaeffer-Houston and Jackson Huffstutler delivered.
Schaeffer-Houston grinded through 4 2/3 innings, allowing one unearned run and striking out five, then Huffstutler closed out the game as the Falcons earned a 4-1 win in the nightcap, earning a Mississippi Athletic Conference split after the Knights won the opener 10-5 at the Davenport West Athletic Complex.
"I think they both did a really good job. We challenged them; we were really embarrassed after that first game," West head coach Scott Beatty said. "You've got to take your hat off to Izaiah and Jack. They came in, pounded the zone when they needed to and came up with good pitches for outs."
Assumption jumped on the board first in the second inning. Nate Schlichting reached second on an error to lead off the inning, then was brought home on an RBI single from Justin Saskowski.
The Falcons responded in the bottom of the frame, as Chance Dreyer led off the inning with a single, then advanced to third on a passed ball and a wild pitch, setting the table for R.J. Molloy to bring him home with a sacrifice fly.
West took a lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, as Dreyer reached on an error to lead off the inning, then scored on an RBI single by Aidan Puckett.
That was enough for the Falcons, thanks to their pitching.
With Schaeffer-Houston nearing the century mark, Assumption made a play at the lead, with Seth Adrian and Noah Weiman hitting back-to-back one-out singles. Schaeffer-Houston struck out Schlichting, but Saskowski drew a walk, loading the bases and ending Schaeffer-Houston’s night.
Huffstutler was wild on his first pitch in relief, but catcher Dom DeLaPaz threw a pinpoint ball to Huffstutler, who tagged out the lead runner at home to keep the West lead intact.
"That was definitely scary but Dom is probably one of the most athletic catchers in the MAC," said Schaeffer-Houston, who was in the outfield for the play. "That's kind of typical of him to make that crazy play."
The Falcons (4-3, 3-3) added to the lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, with Dreyer adding his second RBI of the night and Harrison Wright driving in a run by reaching on a one-out error after West had loaded the bases.
Assumption (5-2, 4-2) had a chance to cut into the lead in the top of the sixth inning, its first two batters reaching on a walk and a hit by pitch. But Huffstutler struck out the next two batters, then induced a flyout to center field to get out of the jam.
Assumption used an eight-run fourth inning to grab a 10-5 win over Davenport West in the opener.
The Falcons jumped on the board in the second inning, with Payton Thompson hitting an RBI single, part of a 3-3 effort at the plate, to put West on top.
West added to its lead in the third inning, loading the bases with no outs, setting the table for RBIs from Chance Dreyer and Hunter Runge. Burkhart worked out of the inning without any further damage, and the Assumption offense picked up its pitcher in the top of the fourth.
Trailing 3-0, the Knights ripped off four straight hits to start the fourth inning. An RBI single from Jay Costello tied the game and ended the night for West starter Garet Gustaf.
A change in pitchers didn’t help the Falcons, as J.J. Stratman greeted Noah Thompson with a two-run single to give Assumption a 5-3 lead, and three more runs scored before West ended the inning.
"We got a couple big hits, kept the line moving and then got a big double," Assumption head coach Greg Thissen said. "The second game, we had the same opportunities, we just didn't get that big double or ran ourselves out of two or three innings."
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