ELDRIDGE — The Davenport Assumption playoff baseball run began with a thump on Friday night.
Noah Mack hit a two-out grand slam from the scoreboard in the first inning of the Knights’ 10-0 six-inning victory over Washington in an Iowa Class 3A opener hosted by North Scott.
“It was a 2-0 count and I was looking for my pitch. If I saw a pitch I liked, I was going to swing and I got what I was looking for,” Mack said. “I knew I hit him pretty hard, but I didn’t know he was out until I heard the thump.”
Mack’s hit allowed Assumption to make the most of an opening inning that began when Max Stein scored a two-out double to left.
Chance Dreyer walked and Michael Ray was hit by a pitch to load the bases before Mack unloaded on a ball that produced a thud as it bounced off the left field scoreboard.
The Knights added five second-inning runs to the 4-0 lead created by Mack.
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A two-run homer from Stein preceded a two-out, two-run double from Tyler Welch and a triple from Alex Good that left the Demons down 9-0.
Seven of Assumption’s 10 runs in the game came on two hits.
“We talk all the time about having good hits at bat no matter how many outs in an inning and those two-out hits, they make a difference,” Welch said.
On Friday, they got the Knights off to the kind of start coach Greg Thissen had hoped to see.
“Four in the first, five in the second, getting a good start like that was something we were hoping to do. Bring it to them early,” Thissen said. “We needed that early lead. I felt like our offense faltered a bit in the middle of the innings. We got away from some of the things we wanted to do.”
Washington wide receiver Ethan Zieglowsky kicked out a pair of runners trying to take second in the first two innings of the game, but Thissen was willing to live with that.
“We’re still going to be aggressive on the bases, and we kept working and playing. We followed that up with good at-bats that led to runs and kept us going,” Thissen said.
Two scoreless innings of relief work by Washington’s Kole Williams and a third by Ethan Patterson took the game into the sixth inning when Jay Costello scored a single with the bases loaded to give Assumption the 10-run victory.
The Knights’ Dreyer dominated on the mound, improving to 7-0 on the season on the shutout on four hits. He struck out 10 batters in a scoreless start.
“Dreyer threw a great game. He was perfect,” Thissen said. “His fastball was great and he mixed things up well. It was a good start for us.”
Washington (6-21) had more than one baserunner alone in the first inning when Patterson hit the first of two singles and stole the second before advancing on a one-out single from Williams.
Dreyer followed with a strikeout before Patterson was caught third and eventually tagged home to finish top of first.
“Nic (Orr, the Assumption wide receiver) made a big play there to keep them off the board and give us a chance to get to work on offense,” Welch said.
Mack made sure that happened.
“Max got us started with his double and I found an opportunity that got us signed up,” Mack said. “Across the lineup, we have faith in each other to put together an inning like this even though there are two outs. That got us started in this game.”
The Knights (28-6) advance to face Keokuk in a substate semifinal game at 5 p.m. Monday at North Scott. The Chiefs (12-18) beat Fairfield 4-3 in their first-round game on Friday.
Photos: Assumption baseball opens the playoffs against Washington
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