WATERLOO — It may have taken a while, but the Waterloo West Wahawks baseball team finally found their groove Wednesday in a 7-2 victory over cross town rival Columbus at Danny VanSyoc Field.
The Wahawks (4-5) and Sailors (5-5-1) were locked into a pitching duel between Luke Fordyce for West and Robert Porth for Columbus through the first four innings with the Sailors holding a 2-1 edge.
Porth had cruised through West’s lineup allowing a single run on three hits. Fordyce had surrendered just a pair of runs on three hits as well.
But in the fifth, with Porth off the bump, Fordyce helped himself with a two-run double as West exploded for four runs to take a commanding lead.
“As this season began we found ourselves struggling with our pitching,” said Fordyce. “I struggled through the first couple innings but then was able to find my groove. The defense picked up as well and made some great plays. I really did not want to leave the game, but I know we need work with that.”
“We started getting good hits and hitting the ball into the gaps,” added Fordyce. “That’s the character of this team right now. We play off each other.”
The Wahawks defense was paced by the speed of Colby Adams in center field. Adams tracked down three deep fly balls to left and right center field robbing the Sailors of extra bases.
“We were hitting the ball hard all night, it just happened we were hitting it right at them,” Sailors skipper Mark Gallagher said. “When we did get a good hit to the outfield, their center fielder was quick at tracking them down. I told the boys to not let that bother them that the ball will fall our way tomorrow.
“I feel bad for Porth because he pitched well enough to win,” added Gallagher. “We just have to put this one in the books and move on.”
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The Wahawks tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the sixth on a wild pitch and an RBI single by Sam Moore.
“We are a young team and we have a lot of talks about character,” Wahawks coach Chad Crosby said. “These guys have great character and they don’t want to lose. We have been playing very well on defense and we just have to be physically prepared to play with all the games we have had to get in here lately.
“We have been on these guys about getting better each day and they don’t have to be the best right now, but we want to be the best at the end.”
Columbus hosts East in a JV-V doubleheader today at Sulentic Field, while West returns to action Friday when it hosts Iowa City West.
West 7, Columbus 2
Columbus 110 000 0—2 4 2
West 100 042 x—7 10 0
Robert Porth, AJ Muniz (4) and Ben Sinnott. Luke Fordyce, Sam Moore (6), Carter Schulte (7) and Dylan Kipper. WP—Fordyce. LP (Porth). 2B—Ben Sinnott (WC), Schulte (WW), Mitch Fordyce (WW), Luke Fordyce (WW).