PELLA — A stiff battle was expected when the Grinnell Tigers paid a visit to the home of the Pella Dutch Monday night for a Little Hawkeye Conference showdown. Grinnell was sitting on the second place rung of the conference ladder and Pella was itching to knock them off.
Things were looking good for Pella in the top of the first inning as Dutch pitcher, Jason Knox, breezed past the first three batters with a pair of strikeouts and a harmless ground ball. Then Pella scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the inning when Nick DeJong rapped a two out single and motored around the bases to score when Ryan Mace ripped a double.
In the top of the second, the Pella high hopes began to unravel. Grinnell’s Cole Johnson legged out an infield single and took second when a pickoff throw got away. Johnson then swiped third and scored when the throw sailed into left field.
More problems surfaced for the Dutch in the third and fourth innings as the Tiger put four more runs on the board with only one of them being earned.
The Dutch found themselves squarely between a rock and a hard place. The Tiger pitching was proving to be a tough nut to crack as three pitchers held the Dutch to only five hits while fanning nine batters.
But Pella would not go down easy as boys in green and white would mount rallies in both the sixth and seventh innings only to find the hole they had dug was a little too deep to crawl out of.
In the sixth, Knox would smash a double to the fence in centerfield and steal third. He would score on a sacrifice fly by DeJong. Mace tried to keep the rally going with single that dropped just fair behind first base, but a strikeout would end the inning.
With two out in the bottom of the seventh, Aiden Pollock drilled a single to right, moved up by way of a Tiger error and went to third on a wild pitch. He then scored on a balk. But a ground out to short ended the game and left the Dutch a couple of runs short.
“It was just a bad night for the defense,” Pella Coach Jesse Jablonski said. “We didn’t execute defensively and we gave up too many free bases. You just can’t afford to do that against a good team. We have gotten ourselves into a pattern of scoring first, then having a mid-game lull before picking it up again at the end. We just had too much to make up tonight. We just have to find more offensive consistency.”
The Little Dutch are now 13-10 and 8-8 in LHC play. They will face North Polk at Principal Park on Tuesday and come back home on Wednesday for a twin bill against Pella Christian.
Grinnell 0 1 2 2 0 0 0 5 7 1
Pella 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 5 6
Pella Battery – Jason Knox (LP) 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, Tate Weesner 3.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K and Nick DeJong.
Pella hitting – Knox 1-for-4, DeJong 1-for-2, Ryan Mace 2-for-3, Aidedn Pollack 1-for-2.
Pella runs – Knox 1, DeJong 1, Pollock 1
Pella RBI – DeJong 1, Mace 1.
2B – Knox 1, Mace 1.