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Horstmeier throws complete game in Fulton baseball team's NCMC win at Mexico

— The Hornets collected nine hits and senior starter Dalton Horstmeier threw a complete game in Friday night’s 6-1 North Central Missouri Conference victory over the rival Bulldogs.

Fulton (10-9, 5-6 NCMC) grabbed the lead with two runs in the top of the third inning. Freshman left fielder Alec Fleetwood led off the inning with a triple to right off Mexico junior starter Cody Creed. Fleetwood stopped at third, but the Bulldogs’ right fielder missed the cutoff man and Fleetwood was able to score.

“That was a big play for us,” Hornets head coach Darren Masek said. “It got us going early on and Cody got rattled early on, and we were able to take advantage of his mistakes.”

Freshman catcher Isaiah Pani drew a one-out walk two batters later and was replaced by freshman pinch-runner Devin Masek. Senior designated hitter Paul Books then fouled out, but senior center fielder Kory Masek doubled to right to score Devin Masek and give Fulton a 2-0 edge.

Senior designated hitter Gavin Jones drove in Mexico’s only run in the fourth with a two-out single to right off Horstmeier.

Horstmeier (4-1) scattered two hits, struck out seven and walked four.

Sophomore second baseman Tristan Steffens lengthened the Hornets’ lead in the sixth with a one-out, RBI single to left to plate Kory Masek and load the bases.

Fleetwood was hit by a pitch to bring home freshman pinch-runner Josh Quick and make it 4-1. Pani then coaxed a two-out, four-pitch walk to force home sophomore right fielder Zach Franklin with the final run of the inning.

Franklin drove in Fulton’s last run with two outs in the seventh when his single to right scored junior third baseman Blake Thompson.

Franklin was 2-for-2, while Steffens and Kory Masek both finished 2-for-4.

“We had some production in spots we haven’t been getting lately,” Darren Masek said. “I’m pleased with how Zach, Tristan and Alec produced at the plate tonight.”

The Hornets open play in their own 20th-annual Fulton Tournament with an NCMC contest against Moberly at 2 p.m. Monday at the high school athletic complex. The Spartans topped the Hornets 6-4 on April 17 in Fulton.

In Monday’s other first-round game at 2, North Callaway faces Fatima at Westminster College. The winners will then meet in the semifinals at 4:30 at the high school, while the losing teams will square off in the consolation semifinals at the same time at Westminster.

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