HOWARD — The host East Knox Bulldogs (13-0) wasted no time putting it to the Fredericktown Freddies (10-4) with six runs in the first two innings of their crucial Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference matchup.
The Bulldogs got a first pitch homer in the bottom of the first inning by leadoff hitter Caleb Gallwitz (2-for-3, two runs, three RBIs).
In the second, it was Gallwitz again, along with Gage Steinmetz, each driving in a pair of runs for the Bulldogs. Weston Melick (3-for-4, one RBI) followed with a single to drive home Gallwitz. Steinmetz finished the game 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored.
“That kid (Gallwitz) has so many tools,” said East Knox Bulldogs’ coach Randy Baugher. “He’s a 5-tool kid. He really is. He’s so unselfish and he just loves to play.”
Bulldogs starting pitcher Nate Friel, coming off a stomach bug, fanned eight Freddies over 6 1/3 innings, scattering six hits and three walks.
“I was throwing fastballs and low, low curveballs,” Friel said. “(Fredericktown is) a good hitting team. That’s all there is to it.”
The Freddies only broke through in the top of the third inning, when Nick Cunningham (1-for-4 and one run) reached on a fielder’s choice, moved up on a wild pitch and scored on an infield single by Caleb Sheriff (2-for-4, one RBI and a run). Clem Cunningham (1-for-4, one RBI) followed with a single to score Sheriff.
“You can’t give up that many runs to a good team like (East Knox),” said Fredericktown Freddies’ coach Ryan Hathaway. “You can’t dig yourself a hole, basically.”
Fredericktown starting pitcher Mason Finnell was roughed up for five hits and a walk in an inning plus five batters. Lincoln Cunningham came on in relief in the second inning, retiring four of the next five Bulldogs batters. He gave up a fourth inning solo home run to Cade Leach and then he set down the final eight out of 10 East Knox batters.
“After we got through the first couple of innings we settled in a little bit,” Hathaway said. “It was just a little too late. We were down in the count a lot and put them in some fastball counts and (East Knox was) obviously sitting on fastballs, waiting to hit.”
Also for East Knox, Dawson David walked and scored. Teammate Chase Lilly reached, when he was hit by a Finnell pitch in the second inning. He moved up on a wild pitch and scored. Andrew Allman also singled and scored in the Bulldogs’ 5-run second. He finished 1-for-3. The bottom four batters in the Bulldogs’ lineup accounted for four runs and four hits.
Both teams will meet for a rematch at Fredericktown High School today at 5 p.m. Nick Cunningham is expected to pitch for the Freddies. The Bulldogs have not announced who will start on the mound for them.