The Dodge City Red Demons continue to be very strong in pitching and defense Thursday afternoon by shutting out the Liberal Redskins twice in a Western Athletic Conference doubleheader at Demon Field.
Dodge City won the first game 8-0 and won the nightcap 4-0 to complete the sweep by using the fundamentals of pitching and defense.
"Pitching and defense helped us out in both games," said DCHS baseball head coach Daniel Rogers.
Liberal recorded five hits against Dodge City on the day. The two shutouts pushes the Red Demons' earned run average to 1.15 for the season and earned their fourth and fifth shutouts in 13 games this season.
Andrew Balderaz threw a complete two-hit game in the nightcap after Austin Weiser and Jackson Oldham combined for a three-hit shutout in the opener.
Weiser threw six innings and gave up three hits and a walk while striking out four in the first game, and Oldham struck out two in the seventh inning to preserve the shutout. Balderaz struck out three and walked one in his performance to complete the sweep.
"We just threw strikes and our defense worked," Balderaz said. "It was tough with the wind pushing you forward on the mound. We just got up there and got the job done."
The Red Demons (10-3, 5-1) also continued to bounce back from their poor defensive showing a couple of weeks ago. Dodge City committed only two errors in the twinbill.
"I was very pleased with the way we pitched; very pleased with the way we played defense," Rogers said. "I actually thought we hit the ball well today. It was pretty tough conditions to be a hitter, but we did what we needed to score runs."
Weiser scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the first to open the scoring in the first game. Weiser walked, stole second, and went to third on a single by Balderaz. Balderaz scores from third base after a ball hit by Dakota Duckett is misplayed (Duckett still gets an RBI), and Jordan Doan later scores from third on a dropped third strike issued to Arrin Tieben.
Balderaz hits a RBI single for the first Dodge City run in the second inning after Jackson Oldham and Taylor Murphy are walked to begin the inning. Balderaz steals second and he and Murphy score on a single by Doan.
Weiser knocked in a run in the bottom of the fifth on a fielders' choice, and the Demons' final run came after Duckett reached base on a fielders choice, then came all the way around to score on a two-base error in the outfield on a ball hit by Tieben.
The second game started pretty much like the first.
Weiser reached base on an error in the bottom of the first, stole second and went to third on a sacrifice by Balderaz. Weiser scored on a groundout by Doan. Duckett brought in another run in the frame on a single to make it 2-0.
Page 2 of 2 - Weiser was issued a walk in the bottom of the fifth, again stole second, went to third on a single by Balderaz and scored on a wild pitch. Balderaz later scored on a RBI groundout by Gideon Wells.
The Demons return to action today with a doubleheader at Demon Field against the Wichita East Blue Aces. This doubleheader is very important for Dodge City as it helps give a clearer picture of who will host the three baseball regionals for the 12-team area. The Red Demons are battling the No. 7-Blue Aces (9-3), Wichita Heights (9-1), Wichita Northwest (8-2) and Hutchinson (6-2) in the race.
"We're focused on Wichita East," Rogers said. "I think they are going to similar to us in that pitchers throw strikes, they have solid defense and I know they hit the ball well. We went up to their place last year and lost two-one games. We're ready to play them, hopefully, get them back."