PHOTOS BY LISA McGINTY | LMc Photography
Dalton baseball players celebrate in the dugout after teammate Jack Steiner hit an inside-the-park, three-run homer against Cornerstone Christian. The Dawgs are 8-2 headed into the district tourney.
Dalton’s Seth Wyckoff winds up.
Trey Dunn slides safely into third May 17.
Dalton’s Keller McFarren
By ARIEL STAHLER
Gazette & News sports writer
Dalton High School’s varsity baseball team advanced to the next step in the tournament as they move closer to the ultimate goal of reaching the state tournament. The Dawgs cruised past Cornerstone Christian in the sectional final to secure their spot in the district tournament.
Before they dove into tournament action, Dalton finished up the regular season with an 8-2 road victory over Chippewa May 16. The win put the Dawgs in a three-way tie with Norwayne and Waynedale to share the 2023 WCAL Championship. Will Carmichael had a stellar game. He doubled home Bryce Johnson in the second inning for Dalton’s first run of the game. Soon after, Carmichael scored on an error to put the Dawgs up 2-0. In the third inning, Carmichael walked with the bases loaded to add another run. Chippewa cut into the lead by scoring two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Dalton responded with a 3-run fifth inning, and two of those runs scored on a double from Carmichael. In the seventh inning, Carmichael doubled again to drive home two runs to finish with six RBIs in the game. Justin Basinger received the win. He gave up two runs on five hits, walked one hitter and struck out three Chipps.
No. 1 seed Dalton jumped out to an exciting start in the tournament when they shut out No. 8 Cornerstone Christian 19-0 in five innings in the Division IV sectional final May 17. The Dawgs put five runs on the board in the bottom of the first to set the tone for the game. The highlight of the inning came on a 3-run home run from Jack Steiner. Dalton added three runs in the second inning and two runs in the third to extend their lead. The Dawgs’ offense exploded once again in the fourth inning when they batted around and scored nine runs. Notable events from the inning included a 2-run single from Cohen Riggenbach and a 3-RBI triple by Conner Mori. Seth
Wyckoff was masterful on the mound. In five innings, he tossed a no-hitter, walked two batters and recorded eight strikeouts.
Dalton’s head coach Scott Huth was happy with the momentum his team gained in the game and how everyone was able to contribute.
“In the game with Cornerstone Christian, it was nice to see the team relax a little at the plate and have some fun,” Huth said. “I think as the year wound down, we were feeling a little pressure and didn’t score as many runs as we are capable of. In this game, Jack got us going in the first inning with a 3-run home run and it seems like that made everyone just relax a little and we were able to get things rolling. It was also nice to be able to get everyone in the game, even some of the younger guys from the JV team were able to get that first varsity at-bat in a tournament setting, so that will be helpful for us in the future.”
Dalton will face familiar tournament foe No. 3 Columbia in the district semifinal May 23. If they move on to the district final, they will take on the winner of Rittman/Hillsdale.
“For the district tournament, we are approaching it with cautious optimism,” Huth said. “We feel like we have a good chance to make it to the regional tournament, but we have two very tough games to get there. Columbia is first and they have beaten us in the district semifinals the last two seasons. We would like to get a little payback on them, but even though they had several key players graduate last year, they are still a very good team. If we are fortunate enough to beat them, then we would play the winner of Rittman and Hillsdale. We beat both of those teams twice in the regular season, but it is extremely difficult to beat anyone three times in a year and Hillsdale especially, has some very talented pitchers. Our key will be just to continue with the momentum we built up from beating Norwayne and Chippewa and Strasburg to end our season and win a share of our conference title. Keep pushing forward, be aggressive and stay focused.”