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Baker comes up big for DC-G at state

Clint Cole - DCN: Cole Baker pitched in the first round of the state tournament on Tuesday.
Clint Cole - DCN: Cole Baker pitched in the first round of the state tournament on Tuesday.

When the Mustangs needed it most, DC-G pitcher Cole Baker came up big for the Mustangs as Dallas Center-Grimes pulled off the upset of Fairfield in the first round of the state tournament on Tuesday night with a 3-0 win in nine innings. Both teams only had one hit going into the seventh inning.

Joseph Hietpas started the game on the mound for Fairfield and held the Mustangs to one hit with eight strikeouts in eight innings and was even perfect into the fifth inning when DC-G’s Parker Schutt ended his perfect game, but Fairfield replaced him with Austin Gridley in the ninth inning, and that’s when the Mustangs found a way to get some runs across the plate.

Callen Bertrand crossed the plate for the Mustangs first to give them a 1-0 lead on the RBI by catcher Justin Carlyle. Later in the inning the Mustangs extended their lead to 2-0 on the sacrifice fly by Schutt that scored Tyler Pierson. On the same play that Pierson scored on, a throwing error to third base by the catcher allowed Carlyle to score and make it 3-0 Mustangs.

“I was happy when we got one,” DC-G coach Byron Peyton said. “But I was stressed and worried through that because Cole (Baker) had already thrown quite a few pitches.”

Peyton said he typically has a 100-pitch rule with his pitchers and he broke that rule in the Mustangs’ first-round win, as Baker went all nine innings on the mound.

Baker showed off his ability to pull of a clutch performance in the bottom of the seventh inning. Fairfield got two runners on base with no one out when he made a pickoff move to second base and got the first out of the inning.

“We’ve practiced it before (the pickoff move), I never really thought we would get to it,” Baker said. “That one time, we had to and it just worked… We knew we were going to do it, we had it planned out.”

The pickoff move didn’t get the Mustangs out of the woods, however. Fairfield loaded the bases with one out and only needing one run to win the game, but Baker struck out the next two batters to get out of the inning.

Even after a nine inning game that went late into the night, Peyton said the Mustangs were going to stick to their schedule and lift weights the next day.

“We’ve stayed on our schedule,” Peyton said. “Then we’ll practice and get ready to go Friday for a tough one… We want to get to Saturday night.”

The Mustangs’ next game is against Sergeant Bluff-Luton on Friday. Sergeant Bluff-Luton played a similar game to the Mustangs as they defeated Algona 2-1 behind a three-hitter by Cody Selig.

Dallas Center-Grimes and Sergeant Bluff-Luton will play on Friday in the Class 3A semifinals at 2 p.m. at Principal Park in Des Moines.

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