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The Master's baseball finds hole plugger

Relief pitcher Dalton Thompson slows the tide in Mustangs win

Posted: March 19, 2013 9:53 p.m.
Updated: March 19, 2013 9:53 p.m.

Even after scoring 12 runs, the fate of The Master’s College lay in the hands of a freshman pitcher.

Dalton Thompson had pitched only eight inningsfor TMC (23-9, 15-6 GSAC) this season, but Tuesday, Mustangs head Coach Monte Brooks turned to him with the game on the line in The Master’s 13-11 win over the Doane College Tigers (14-6).

Leading Doane (Nebraska) 12-11 in the top of the eighth, Thompson came in with two outs and runners on first and second. His first pitch went to the backstop, allowing both runners to advance. It didn’t shake him, as he got the next batter to pop out to second base.

“It gave me a lot of confidence knowing that coach trusts me,” Thompson said. “I felt more comfortable pitching in a close game like this than in games that we were up 10-1.”

The Mustangs added a run in the bottom of the eighth and Cody Harris pitched a scoreless ninth for his third save.

“It’s good when you play teams like Doane,” Brooks said. “They create pressure situations. They are going to compete all nine innings, so when we get towards the end of the season, we have already been in those. It’s all about preparation.”

Pressure situations didn’t seem possible early.

The Mustangs led 9-1 after three innings.

TMC scored two in the first on a Chris Talley single.

The Mustangs added three runs in the second and four in the third.

Doane, ranked 23rd in the NAIA preseason poll, never folded, taking advantage of two of the Mustangs’ most reliable relief pitchers down the stretch. TMC’s Daniel Sheaffer (1.84 ERA entering Tuesday) allowed four runs on eight hits in 1 2/3 innings after relieving Mustang starter Andrew Klausmeier in the third.

Tucker Richardson, who picked up the win, steadied the Mustangs, giving up one run over three innings in relief of Sheaffer.

Leading 9-6, TMC seemingly put the game out of reach for a second time in the seventh, scoring three runs, thanks in large part to Jon Popadics. Popadics hit an RBI double, stole third, and then scored on a passed ball.

Doane answered again, this time off Tommy Kister (1.31 ERA entering Tuesday). Kister surrendered five runs in 2/3 of an inning before Thompson’s heroics.

“It’s hard to be good every single outing,” Brooks said. “(Sheaffer and Kister) didn’t work ahead in the count, and they didn’t work down in the strike zone. Those two guys have been dominating all year, but unfortunately they were bad on the same day.”







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