CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Washington executed all facets of successful baseball.
It showed a potent offense, running the bases well, stockpiling runs, spraying the ball all over the field and hitting for power.
The Warriors demonstrated strong starting pitching that stifled batters and a defense to make huge plays to thwart rallies.
Washington used all those elements against Dubuque Hempstead in a Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division doubleheader sweep Monday night at Washington. The Warriors thumped the Mustangs, 13-3, in five innings in the opener and closed with a 2-0 victory.
“It is a tribute to the guys we have on the team,” Washington Coach Scott Brune said. “One through nine, we can hit. We can run. Our pitchers did a phenomenal job of tagging the zone all night, making them put the ball in play.”
Washington (8-3, 4-2) used an offensive barrage in the opener, tallying nine runs and nine hits in the first two innings. In the second Washington at-bat, Brady Bunten smacked a two-run homer over the scoreboard in left field. Starter Jake Bockenstedt helped himself with an RBI triple and scored on Ben Skogman’s single in the four-run first.
Bunten delivered again in the third of the nightcap, hitting a two-run shot in nearly the exact same place. The first blast was a fastball. He hit a curveball for the second shot. Bunten knew both were gone on contact.
“I’m seeing the ball really well right now,” Bunten said. “I saw the pitch coming. I was sitting on it and it came in my zone so I took it.”
Drew Christensen provided the punch in the second inning, hitting a three-run home run to left. Lincoln Riley and Nick Nading each had three hits to lead Washington in game one. Nading had three doubles and Riley had an RBI single. All but one Warrior scored in the opener and they combined for 14 total hits.
“It’s tough,” Bunten said about the Warriors’ balanced lineup. “You’re going to have to battle. We’re going to put the ball in play.”
Bockenstedt improved to 2-0 this season, allowing three runs on just three hits in the first game. The performance was bested only by teammate Nading, who tossed a complete-game, four-hit shutout. Nading was the epitome of efficiency, throwing 67 pitches and facing 23 batters — two more than the minimum in a seven-inning game.
“He comes in and does a nice job,” Brune said. “He throws strikes and gives us a chance to win every time.
“We know what we’re going to get out of Nick every time we put him out there. He’s going to pound the zone.”
Nading received some help from the defense, including web-gem catches from third baseman Matyk Hilton and left fielder Nolan Cavanaugh. The biggest support came from two inning-ending double plays in the third and fourth innings to thwart Hempstead rallies.
“We have the defense to back our pitchers,” Bunten said. “If they throw strikes and let us do our job behind them, it makes it easier. It helps a lot when the defense is helping out. Those double plays were huge.
“We practice like we play. We practice hard and it shows in the game.”
Dubuque Hempstead fell to 5-4 overall and 3-3 in the MVC Valley.
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