On a day when it wasn’t easy to pitch, Portage right-hander Connor Allsage tossed a real gem. The Portage senior held a hot-hitting DeForest team to just one run, tossing a complete-game two-hitter while striking out 12 to lead the Warriors to a 6-1 Badger North Conference victory at Bidwell Field on Thursday night.
With a light rain falling most of the game, Allsage had no issues with control, as he walked just two batters. He struck out the side in the second and fifth innings, and silenced a DeForest team that slugged a combined 13 doubles in wins over Lodi on Monday and Portage on Tuesday.
“I just had to go up there and try to throw strikes,” Allsage said. “I couldn’t do anything about the balls being wet. It was the same thing for the other team. You just got to go up there with confidence.”
While Allsage thrived in the wet weather, the DeForest pitching duo of Keagon Kaufmann and Cole Yocum combined to walk 10 Portage hitters. They also had a slew of wild pitches, four of which allowed runs to score.
Portage (4-6, 1-6 Badger North) had just three hits at the plate, but took advantage of DeForest’s control issues. The Warriors took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. After Matthew Miles drew a leadoff walk, courtesy runner Dalton Johnson came on and later scored from third on a wild pitch by Kaufmann.
DeForest (6-6, 3-3) tied the game in the top of the third. Garrett Esse led the inning off with a double to left-center. Esse advanced to third on Kaufmann’s sacrifice bunt before scoring on Jack Olver’s groundout to Portage second baseman Austen Stensrud.
The Warriors opened up a 4-1 lead with three runs in the third. The rally started when Kaden Lehman reached base with one out on a strike-three passed ball. Lehman advanced around the diamond on a stolen base and a pair of wild pitches to make it 2-1.
Consecutive walks to Miles and Stensrud set the table for Ethan Bauer, who knocked in courtesy runner Johnson with a base hit to right field. Bauer’s hit was nearly caught by DeForest second baseman Trey Kirchberg, but the ball ticked off the top of his glove as he made a leaping attempt.
The Warriors added a third run in the inning when Stensrud motored home on another wild pitch.
Portage went up 5-1 in the fourth. Colton Brandsma opened the inning by beating out an infield single. He then stole second base before taking third and then home on a pair of wild pitches.
Portage added an insurance run in the sixth. After leadoff man Kendal Thomson walked to open the inning, he stole second and third before scoring on Kaden Lehman’s base hit up the middle.
Allsage said pitching with a lead helped him attack the DeForest hitters.
“We’ve been struggling to get on base. They got on base, we got the bases loaded, we kept on getting guys in off their mistakes,” Allsage said. “That’s all we need. That’s my confidence.”
Allsage faced the top of DeForest’s order in the sixth, and retired them in order on a grounder to first baseman Clayton Kapel and a pair of strikeouts.
Then in the seventh, he needed just one pitch to retire No. 4 hitter Cal Olson on a grounder to Bauer at third base. Justin Hausser hit a double to the fence in right-center field on the next pitch for DeForest’s second hit of the game, but Allsage retired the next two batters on a pair of grounders to end the game.
Portage coach Mike Hemming said retiring Olson to open the seventh was a huge out, considering Portage had lost both games of a doubleheader in Reedsburg earlier this season after leading in the seventh inning of both games.
“Right away in that seventh inning, we got the first out. In our losses against Reedsburg, we didn’t get our first out (of the seventh inning) until about the third or fourth hitter,” Hemming said. “Tonight we get that first out right away. The next guy doubled, but you already had that feel that you already had that one out.”
Portage is scheduled to return to action on Saturday at the Adams-Friendship Invitational. The Warriors are also scheduled to host Wisconsin Dells in a non-conference game on Monday, before returning to conference action with a home game against Baraboo on Tuesday.
DeForest 001 000 0 — 1 2 0
Portage 013 101 x — 6 3 0
Pitchers (ip-h-er-bb-so) — D: Kaufmann (L, 2.1-0-4-6-4), Yocum (3.2-3-2-4-4). P: Allsage (W, 7-2-1-2-12).
Leading hitters — D: none. 2B — Hausser, Esse. P: none.