Trojans one win away from state tournamentGrounder from Dahlstrom brings home winning run
Kooper Dahlstrom played the part of hero Monday in Fairfield’s district championship game against Oskaloosa at Fairfield Middle School.
Dahlstrom singled in Mason Ellis twice, once for the first run of the game and once for the game winning run, providing bookend scores in the Trojans’ 5-4 victory over the Indians. Fairfield is now one game away from a Class 3A State Tournament berth, and that one game will be played Wednesday on the Trojans’ home turf.
“I’m proud of the way the boys battled,” Fairfield coach Josh Allison said. “We had a couple guys who struggled who haven’t been struggling this season, and their teammates picked them up, which was important.”
Dahlstrom and Ellis both had productive games at the plate. Dahlstrom finished 2-3 with a sacrifice bunt. Ellis managed to score three times even though he went hitless. He finished 0-2 but was hit by a pitch and was walked.
Fairfield held a 2-0 lead entering the fourth inning. An RBI-single from Peyton Crouse cut the lead in half. Fairfield starter Cameron Baumann pitched effectively but got into trouble in the fourth and fifth innings. He allowed just three hits, one walk and two runs, but also hit three batters. Joe Hietpas came in as a reliever and pitched the rest of the way.
Oskaloosa (17-18) would grab a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning, but its advantage was short lived. Chet Vogt scored on a past ball and Baumann delivered a sacrifice fly, putting Fairfield back up 4-3.
After a dropped third strike extended the top of the sixth, Hietpas allowed a RBI-single to Nick Rutledge that tied the game at 4. Rutledge and Mitchell Schaffner, who batted first and second in the Indians’ lineup, combined for three hits.
Hietpas ran into obstacles in his relief effort, but not in the final frame. The senior ace sat down Oskaloosa’s three through five hitters with three straight strikeouts, the last of which came after catcher Vogt appealed down to the first base umpire. The umpire said hitter Travis Gile swung, and punched him out on strikes. Hietpas and Vogt both pumped their fists, knowing they had given their team a chance to win the game in the bottom of the seventh.
“The game was very emotionally draining,” Dahlstrom said. “I knew we could get it done, I just didn’t know how we were going to get it done.”
Hietpas led off the seventh with a single into left field. Next was Ellis, who grounded the ball to third. Hietpas was called out at second, but the throw to first got away, allowing Ellis to waltz over to second base. With Ellis in scoring position, Dahlstrom smoked a grounder that found its way through the middle for the game winning hit.
The No. 5 Trojans (29-7) will get to stay home and host the substate game against No. 7 Centerville (30-7). Fairfield played a doubleheader against the Big Reds in June. Both teams crushed the other, with Centerville taking game one 15-0 and Fairfield winning game two 11-0.
“It was a tale of two completely different games,” Allison said. “We didn’t see their best pitchers and they didn’t see ours, so you never know. The good thing is that they have to come to our place.”
The Trojans are going to let this win soak in before turning their sights to Centerville.
“It’s a great feeling,” Dahlstrom said. “You start the season as a senior and you don’t know what to expect, but here we are.”
Oskaloosa – 0001210 – 4 5 3
Fairfield – 1100201 – 5 7 1
Class 3A Substate 6 (07/23)
Centerville @ Fairfield, 7 p.m.
Class 3A Substate Games (07/23)
1. Bishop Heelan Catholic, Sioux City (31-7) vs. Sergeant Bluff-Luton (23-11)
2. Humboldt (23-6) vs. Algona (26-7)
3. Waverly-Shell Rock (34-2) vs. West Delaware, Manchester (31-6)
4. Davenport Assumption (22-15) vs. Marion (24-15)
5. Clear Creek-Amana (20-17) vs. Solon (22-15)
6. Fairfield (29-7) vs. Centerville (30-7)
7. Dallas Center-Grimes (21-14) vs. Pella (26-13)
8. Glenwood (23-10) vs. Harlan (24-8)