WATERLOO — One mistake can change the entire complexity of a baseball game.
Tuesday night, Waterloo Columbus made an early mistake and things snowballed from there as sixth-ranked Don Bosco made the Sailors pay during a 14-4 victory.
Columbus (21-14-1) mishandled the first ball put in play, allowing Kendall Becker a free pass to first base.
Back-to-back doubles by Cael Frost and Bryce Schares drove in a pair of runs and suddenly it was 2-0. Another run scored on a fielder’s choice.
Then, with the bases loaded and two outs, sophomore Dillon Welter delivered a crushing three-run double for a 6-0 Don Bosco lead before Columbus even came to bat.
“We faced a different pitcher tonight and were not quite sure what to expect,” said Welter. “We began to hit him pretty well and pitching coach (Curt Frost) has been telling us to just put the bat on the ball. When I got up I just swung for a hit and was able to get it into the gap.
“It felt good and it was very important to get up on these guys early, because they are a good team,” added Welter. “We are a pretty good team, as well, and right now I feel nothing can hold us back.”
Columbus starting pitcher Robert Porth settled in and kept the Dons’ bats quiet so his team could get back into the contest.
Ben Sinnott scored in the Sailors’ half of the first, then Joe Dunlay scored on a wild pitch in the second, followed by a RBI from Tristan Wright, and the Columbus was back in it at 6-3.
The two teams exchanged single tallies in the fourth for an 8-4 Don Bosco lead.
The fifth inning was costly for the Sailors as they committed another error that kept the inning alive for the Dons (24-4).
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The big blow came off Becker’s bat as he drove a two-run double to the right center fence. Becker scored later on a single by Schares.
“We told the guys after the game that if we could have made that first play of the game, you just never know how it would have went,” Columbus coach Mark Gallagher said. “They are a good hitting team and very disciplined at the plate. You cannot give them anything or they will take advantage of it.
“I was very proud of the team for the way they battled tonight. We have shown that we can play with anybody.”
Don Bosco tacked on three more runs in the sixth, again with the help of a leadoff error, to set the final score. Welter, Becker and Cael Frost drove in runs in the inning.
“That first inning was really important for us,” said Dons coach Blaine Rhoads. “I was absolutely surprised at that because they threw a good kid at us (Porth).
“We have really been working at being more aggressive at the plate and getting the ball in play. I thought we had good quality at-bats from the one hitter to our nine.”
Don Bosco 14, Columbus 4
Don Bosco 610 133 — 14 13 1
Columbus 120 100 — 4 7 2
Mason Denton, Lewis Havel (4) and Bryce Schares. Robbie Porth, AJ Muniz (4), Josh Merrifield (6) and Ben Sinnott. WP—Denton (6-0). LP—Porth (2-5). 2B—Kendall Becker (DB), Bryce Schares (DB), Lewis Havel (DB), Dillon Welter (DB), Cael Frost (DB), Joe Dunlay (WC).