Blue Demons fall short against Mustangs

Albia High School’s Jameson Robertson (right) dives back to the bag as Davis County first baseman Logan Hale takes a pickoff throw from Caden Hill during the first game of a South Central Conference baseball doubleheader at the Monroe County Sports Complex in Albia.

ALBIA — Albia High School baseball coach Robbie D’Amato hopes he’s seen the last of Davis County senior pitcher Trevor Slayton.

Even then, Slayton had one final parting gift.

The Mustangs right-hander took a shutout into the seventh inning of the second game, and delivered a clutch two-out, two-run double as Davis County completed a South Central Conference sweep of the Blue Demons with a 5-2 win, which came on the heels of a 4-3 victory in eight innings in the opener Friday at Boyd Brittain Field.

“He’s been tough on us for the last two years, but he’s just a phenomenal pitcher and person,” D’Amato said. “I was pleased we were finally able to get some good swings against him and get on the board. I thought we took much better swings, but the ball just went right at them.

“He just had a good defense behind him tonight.”

A week ago, Slayton threw a one-hitter against the Blue Demons (2-13, 2-8 SCC), needing just 77 pitches to claim the win. He was sailing along through six in this outing, allowing just two hits before Gage Wilson doubled in a run and Tein Thiravong followed with an RBI ground out. Slayton struck out six without a walk, retired 10 in a row at one point and needed 86 pitches for the complete game.

The game was still in the balance until Slayton’s double in the seventh that made it 4-0. 

Davis County scored twice in the opening inning as the Blue Demons committed a pair of errors.

“I’d like to say that’s uncharacteristic of us, but that’s really kind of how games have gone,” D’Amato said. “Our pitchers have to be able to hold it for us and hopefully we can come back. Right now, our timely hitting isn’t in sync.”

“Slayton is not someone who will give a lot of free passes,” Davis County coach Todd White said. “He was very efficient. I’m just glad we were able to get two wins because Albia always gives us fits here.”

Davis County was down to its last at-bat trailing 3-2 in the opener. Yet, the Mustangs battled back with strong base running by Owen Bennett. Bennett stole second after a single, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a ground out by Kade Tharp to tie the game.

Yet, Albia had a chance to win it in the seventh with runners at second and third and one out. White turned the game over to Slayton, who got a 1-2-3 double play to escape the jam.

“He was always an option for us,” White said. “Anything to win the game.”

The Mustangs completed their comeback in the eighth. A stolen base and wild pitch moved Draven DeKraai to third, and Caden Hill grounded out to score him for a 4-3 lead. Slayton retired Albia in order in the bottom half of the inning, a sign of things to come.

“I think we showed a lot of character coming back to win that,” White said. “We were able to get a couple guys on and get something done.”

Albia scored a run in the first inning on a single by Wilson, then led 2-1 in the third on a single by Luke Bossard. The Blue Demons then took a 3-2 lead in the sixth on a single by Eli Smith.

Edison Winslow pitched a solid game for the Blue Demons, going six innings and striking out four with four walks.

“He’s controlled himself better the last two weeks, but we just have to cut down on the walks a little bit,” D’Amato said. “Once he settles in after the first couple innings, he can be tough to hit.”

Davis County hosts Clarke Monday, while Albia travels to Keokuk for a doubleheader Monday.

Chad Drury can be reached at cdrury@ottumwacourier.com, and on Twitter @ChadDrury

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