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Fulton baseball goes 2-1 in Callaway County Jamboree

by Robby Campbell | March 16, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Fulton's Walker Gohring throws a pitch against New Bloomfield in the Callaway County Baseball Jamboree Wednesday at South Callaway High School in Mokane. (Fulton Sun/Robby Campbell)

MOKANE -- Showing its first few weeks of practice paid off, as Fulton tossed two combined no-hitters while outscoring its opponents 8-3 in the Callaway County Baseball Jamboree.

The Hornets beat North Callaway 1-0 and New Bloomfield 7-1 before losing 3-0 to host South Callaway Monday.

In Game 1 versus the Thunderbirds, Fulton only recorded one hit, which scored its only run. That hit was an RBI single by Ethan Burt that sent Jayce Thompson home.

The Hornets' Ethan Milius and Gage Baker combine for a no-hit shutout against North Callaway. Milius pitched the first two innings, striking out five, while Baker pitched the last and K'd one.

"Our pitchers struggled just a little bit, but ...I think North Cal had a runner at third every inning ...but we were able to keep them from scoring," Fulton coach Jacob Lorentzen said. "I think they had a runner at third with pretty much less than two outs each of those innings, but we slam the door and didn't let them cross the plate, which was good."

Like the first game, the Hornets did well on the mound against the Wildcats, as Walker Gohring, Thompson, and Burt combined for a no-hitter while striking out three batters apiece.

Meanwhile, Fulton got its bats going, registering seven hits. Gabe DeFily led the Hornets at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two singles and a double while stealing two bases and driving in a run.

Miles Bethell notched a game-high two RBI for the Hornets, driving in both runs on a single. Fulton's Dusty Hagens, Wyatt Wilfley and Garrett Hufstedler had an RBI each.

"We ran into some probably not the best pitching that we're gonna see," Lorentzen said. "So we were able to take advantage of that. Some guys that were just kind of putting it across the plate for us."

Following a one-hour break, the Hornets finished the jamboree with a hard-fought loss against a strong, experienced South Callaway team.

Fulton saved its ace -- Hagens -- for that matchup, and he pitched a terrific game except for two at-bats in the second.

Before getting into the second, Hagens sent South Callaway down 1-2-3, forcing two groundouts to second base while striking out a Bulldog on three pitches.

As any baseball fan knows, leadoff walks can be detrimental for any pitcher, and it was for Hagens in the second. However, the future UMSL Triton pitcher made two straight outs, including a crooked K.

Down to the final out of the frame, South Callaway answered the bell by smoking an RBI double to deep center (roughly 340 feet).

Hagens regrouped, striking out his second batter while looking to end the inning/his outing.

"I thought he pitched well," Lorentzen said. "I think he was still working on a few things too. I mean, he could have honestly just thrown the fastball and probably been pretty effective. But he was still trying to work on some things, being the first time out there against not our own guys. And I think some of his fastballs were a little bit flat today, just meaning that he just didn't quite have some of the movement, with it being a little colder than it normally has."

Even though Fulton pulled its ace, it was still anyone's game, with the Bulldogs up 1-0.

The Hornets pressured South Callaway with a two-out rally in the third, hitting back-to-back singles before flying out to right field for their final out.

While a three-inning game is already unnatural, it was made even more unusual as the Bulldogs hit in the bottom half of the third. South Callaway scored two runs in the frame to give it the 3-0 victory.

"I was a little mad at myself in the first inning there," Lorentzen said. "I missed giving a kid a sign that we should have bunted our guy over to third base. And then Dusty had a ground ball; he hit a ground ball to the first base, which should have scored us a run in that first inning, and that was a was kind of my fault there. But so it could have been a 1-1 game, even going into the end of it."

As of publication, Fulton will open its season with a road game at North Central Missouri Conference foe Kirksville at 5 p.m. Friday. According to the forecast, it'll be 39 degrees Fahrenheit at the scheduled start time with wind gusts of 16 mph.

"It's a long way out there; it's hard to keep kids to get off a bus after a two-hour drive and being gone," Lorentzen said. "I honestly thought that today was some of the best preseason baseball that I've seen the program play. I mean, we are doing baseball things all day, all day today, hit and runs, bunting guys over, being really excited about that. So, that gives me a lot of hope that we don't have to rely on guys hitting doubles and triples in an environment that's going to be cold and windy."

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