MANILUS, Ill. — Devon Ballard plays a big role for the Fulton Steamers, and he certainly excelled in his duties Wednesday as he threw seven innings on the mound and had three RBIs in a 11-3 over Bureau Valley.
Ballard did not allow an earned run as the Steamers (5-6, 3-1 TRAC) had two errors that forced the Storm to score in the first and sixth.
This was the type of night that the Steamers could have had mistakes thanks to some timely, powerful hitting.
The first three hitters were retired in succession, and had something started in the second inning, but Fulton was still down 2-0 heading into the third.
In the third inning, catcher Jack Lemke forced a five-pitch lead-off walk, stole second base before Seth Sanderson scored. They both scored, but Ethan Jones had an RBI groundout that brought in Sanderson.
The Steamers had three flyouts in the fourth in a five-pitch inning for the Storm.
However, in the fifth inning, Ballard helped his own cause with an RBI double that brought in Trey Simmons and then Ethan Jones scored on a scoring error.
While this was happening, Ballard recorded four consecutive strikeouts and only had to use 18 pitches in the third and fourth innings. He then needed just seven pitches to retire the side in the fifth.
“His velocity was great all night long,” Fulton coach Kyle Miller said. “He forced a lot of hitters to chase many pitches; his stuff was very overpowering.”
Ballard ended the night with nine strikeouts.
Cody Huff scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat at Seth Sanderson for Fulton’s lone run in the sixth inning.
“Cody has hit some balls hard so far this year,” Miller said. “We need him to get hits every night; he’s yet to find his stroke, but he’s doing good things for us.”