For the second time this season, crosstown rivals Valley and Dowling split a doubleheader on Tuesday night.
The host Tigers took the first game 4-3 behind a strong showing from starting pitcher Sam Hartman, who hurled a complete game and was 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI. Dowling responded with a 9-3 win in Game 2.
Hartman surrendered back-to-back solo home runs to Dowling seniors Nate Hunter and Jake Lewton in the first inning of the opener, but settled in nicely afterward.
“I was pretty frustrated — you’re never really happy after back-to-back home runs,” Hartman said. “I just wanted to get the last out and get out of the inning as quickly as I could. I figured we could make up the two runs.”
The Tigers (15-14) didn’t make Hartman wait long to get the lead, as they tagged Dowling pitcher Ben Nelson for six hits and four runs in the bottom half of the second inning.
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“Everyone just kept getting hit after hit after hit,” Hartman said. “It’s nice to pitch and get a little break in the dugout while your team’s scoring some runs.”
Hartman said a win against the fellow West Des Moines foe is nicer than the rest.
“It’s definitely better to beat Dowling. It’s definitely a rivalry matchup and they’re a high-quality team, you know, it’s a crosstown rival.”
Game 2 was tight heading into the sixth and then Dowling junior Ben Olson knocked a two-run double into right field, giving his team a 3-1 advantage and opening the floodgates for what turned out to be a six-run sixth for No. 7 Dowling (21-9).
The Maroons sprinted to victory after trailing 1-0 heading into the sixth.
“The whole day, we were hitting balls pretty hard to the outfield, and it just kind of broke open there and it was a huge hit for (Ben) Olson,” Dowling starter Matt Whipple said. “He really came through there in the clutch.”
Whipple sported a 5-0 record and a 1.05 ERA coming into the doubleheader.
He went 52/3 innings, scattering seven hits and surrendering just one earned run en route to his sixth victory of the season.
Dowling coach Tim O’Neill says this Valley team is better than its 15-14 record would suggest.
“I don’t think their record is any indication of how good of a team they are. It’s just our conference, our league, our schedule that has taken a bite out of them a little bit,” O’Neill said.
“But these are kids that grew up together playing each other, and it’s fun to watch that.”