FARLEY, Iowa — Western Dubuque took a patient approach to the plate Monday night to stay unblemished in its first season in the Mississippi Valley Conference.
The Iowa Class 4A No. 2-ranked Bobcats swept Dubuque Senior, 7-2 and 5-2, at Farley Park to move to 7-1 overall and 6-0 in the MVC. Senior is 2-5 and 2-4.
“One thing (coach) Casey (Bryant) has really emphasized this year is disciplined hitting,” said senior first baseman Zach Bierman, who drove in a pair of runs in the opener. “We really want to work at-bats and drive up a pitcher’s pitch count and get him out of there. A quality at-bat for us is eight pitches.
“Tonight is a good example of how much we’ve worked on that. When you’re disciplined at the plate and work counts, you’re more likely to get pitch locations you like.”
The Bobcats won the opener despite just four hits. They also worked nine walks and drew three hit batsmen.
Western Dubuque opened the scoring in the bottom of the second after Kyle Lehmann singled and Zach Bierman and Payton Quagliano walked to load the bases with no outs. Matt Maiers drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly, and Zack Butcher made it 2-0 with an RBI on a hustle infield single with two outs.
Senior cut the deficit in half in the third. Nathan Swift walked, stole second and later scored on Tommy Casey’s sacrifice fly. The Rams tied it an inning later, when Brandon Birch delivered a one-out single and later scored on a base hit by Shane Arnold.
The Bobcats regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth, when Sam Goodman, Calvin Harris, Lehmann, Bierman and Quagliano drew consecutive walks to start the frame to make it 4-2. Two more runs came across when Maiers reached on a fielder’s choice and took second on an overthrow.
Western Dubuque added insurance in the sixth. Harris and Lehmann walked and Bierman singled up the middle to make it 7-2.
Lehmann earned the pitching win. He scattered six hits, struck out four, walked four and hit a batter.
“You have to give a lot of credit to my defense,” Lehmann said. “Butcher made a couple of great plays in center, and Maiers did a great job at short. You pitch with so much more confidence when you know you can trust your defense like that. Getting a few extra runs definitely helped, too.”
In the nightcap, the Rams wasted no time in grabbing their first lead of the night. Matthew Hirsch drew a leadoff walk and scored on Johnny Blake’s double inside the left field line.
But, the Bobcats responded two innings later. Goodman reached on a one-out error, and Harris followed with a towering home run to centerfield to give Western Dubuque a 2-1 lead.
An inning later, Quagliano singled to start another runner. Pinch-runner Collin stole second, took third on a Maiers ground out and scored when Ben Bryant slapped a single up the middle.
The Rams got one of those runs back in the fifth with a two-out rally. Matthew Hirsch and Casey walked before Ethan Herber sliced a double just inside the right field line to pull Senior within 3-2.
Goodman reached on an error to lead off the bottom half. He stole second and third and scored on a wild pitch to put Western Dubuque ahead, 4-2. Lehmann followed with a double and scored on Quagliano’s two-out single up the middle.
Damon Jaeger scattered three hits and struck out 13 batters in six innings of work to earn the victory. Harris pitched the seventh to seal the victory.