Dawson pitches, bats Indians to regional win
Carter Dawson was in trouble from the beginning, but the sophomore right-hander managed to avoid damage through six innings on the mound.
When it came time to deliver at the plate, Dawson did that with a bases-clearing double that vaulted the Indians to a 3-1 victory over Clinton in the Class 3A U-High Regional baseball tournament at The Ballpark at Williamson Field.
The Tribe will take on regional host and top-seed U-High Wednesday at Duffy Bass Field at ISU.
“Carter delivered the goods,” PTHS head coach Mike Stoecklin said. “We did just enough. At this time of the season, doing just enough is just enough.”
Pontiac did just enough on offense, but Dawson and the defense went beyond the call to keep the game scoreless through the first four innings.
The Maroons finally got to Dawson in the fifth inning with their lone tally. Like each of the previous four innings, Clinton threatened with less than two outs. Braden Cross led off with a ringing double to right-center. Parker West followed with a walk.
Logan Peterson got the bunt down but Dawson’s throw to third in an effort to get Cross sailed away from Evan Trevino, allowing Cross to score.
West tried to make it to third on the play but was thrown out. Dawson got out of the inning on a fly out and a pop out.
But the Maroons had scored, they had finally broken through. The question for the Indians was would they be able to bounce back.
This was actually asking a lot because PTHS was having trouble with Clinton hurler Mac Hickman. The Tribe had managed just two hits off Hickman through the first four innings.
But Tanner Walls led off the fifth with a ringing single to left. Eric Watson drew a one-out walk and Jakob Grieff reached on an error when his grounder was misplayed by Clinton third baseman Cross.
Dawson then smacked the first pitch he saw to right-center that brought home three runs and made it 3-1.
Clinton had runners reach third base with one or no outs in each of the first four innings, forcing Dawson to work out of jams and use a lot of pitches.
Hickman walked to lead off the game and reached third on a sacrifice after taking second on an errant pickoff throw. Dawson got out of it with a punch out and a pop out.
The Maroons loaded the bases with one out in the second but a nice diving play by shortstop Ben Schuler resulted in a double play that ended the threat.
Hickman led off the third with a double and Clinton had runners on the corners with one out. Dawson fanned the last two batters to get out of trouble again.
Clinton had runners on second and third with no outs in the fourth when PTHS second sacker Austin Einhaus made a key pickup and throw, nailing Matthew Overton at the plate after snaring Michael Oswald’s grounder with the infield playing in.
The bases were loaded after an intentional walk but Dawson closed the inning by getting a pop out.
“It’s been a while since he’s thrown,” Stoecklin said of Dawson. “I debated back and forth for a handful of days on route we were going to take going into the regional.”
Dawson finished with seven strikeouts and seven walks. He gave up five hits and threw 110 pitches in six innings. Andrew Lee came on and got the save in the seventh.
Dawson had half of Pontiac’s four base hits, including his double, and drove in all three runs. Walls and Trevino also singled.