GALENA, Ill. — East Dubuque still hadn’t gotten the result it wanted four games into the season.
It just took a night of solid pitching and aggressive base-running — and a rival across the diamond — to get into the win column.
Angel Reyes struck out six in four solid innings, and Brody Tashner closed the door with eight strikeouts in three innings as the Warriors earned their first victory of the season, 7-3, over Galena on Tuesday at Wienen Park.
“Coach (Brandon Tashner) kept saying 712 days since we played, so we knew we were going to be a little rusty. But I think now we’re starting to knock that rust off, starting to put the ball in play more,” said Brody Tashner, who pitched three hitless innings to earn the save. “It was definitely frustrating at first, but now I think we’re settling in. Bats are getting hot, so I think it’s going to be good.”
Brody Tashner took over from Reyes to start the fifth and issued four walks, but kept the score level.
Reyes had allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk.
“Our defense will help us out if we can keep it around the strike zone. They did what they needed to do and I’m proud of them,” Brandon Tashner said.
Sam Huntington and Jackson Wiedemann collected two hits apiece for the Warriors (1-4, 1-0 Northwest Upstate Illini Conference). Brody Lee scored a pair of runs, and Lee, Huntington, Colin Sutter and Reed Kluesner drove in runs.
Ethan Hefel shouldered the loss for Galena (0-1, 0-1), allowing six runs, five earned, on six hits and two walks. He struck out seven in five innings, but six wild pitches were costly. Galena also committed four errors behind him.
Huntington led off the second with a single, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch before Sutter followed with a walk of his own. Sutter stole second, Huntington scored on another wild pitch and Kluesner reached on an error as Sutter came across with the second run. No. 9 hitter Sam Stewart singled to the gap in left-center for a 3-0 lead.
“Yeah, I was way more comfortable (after that),” Reyes said.
Galena answered back with a three-run rally of its own in the third.
John Wubben was hit by a pitch, Hefel doubled and Aiden Schubert walked to load the bases with one out. Will Nack grounded out to second to bring in the first run and Jake Townsend cut the deficit to 3-2 after beating out a groundball to shortstop. Ryan Stoffregen’s single back up the middle drew the Pirates even.
“You don’t have to have home runs, you don’t have to have triples. Put the ball in play, make them fall in,” Galena coach Jared Berlage said. “That’s kind of been my philosophy: Put the ball in play and make the defense get you out.”
That score held until the fifth.
Reyes beat out a single to third base and advanced all the way to third after an ill-advised throwing error. Lee doubled down the right-field line and scored after a pair of wild pitches. Brody Tashner walked, stole second and took third on an errant pickoff attempt at second, then he scored on Sutter’s groundout to short for a 6-3 lead.
Then he took the mound and made it stand up, striking out the final three batters of the game after issuing a leadoff walk to open the seventh.
“I had to keep it around the strike zone,” Brody Tashner said. “I knew I had the defense behind me. Just know I’ve got all our guys coming out and backing me up, so just trust them.”
The teams will meet again on Thursday in East Dubuque.
“We just have to keep putting the ball in play,” Brody Tashner said. “Trust in our pitchers ... and have them keep it in the strike zone. We just need to stay hot, keep the bats hot.
“We can’t assume we’re going to win, but it would be nice to win if we can.”