Shawn Johnson, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton nips New York Mills
DILWORTH - Monday night, Bob Marshall Field was transformed into Shawn Johnson's field of dreams.
In an American Legion baseball clash between two Minnesota Lakes Conference foes, the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton starting pitcher and Northland Community and Technical College student went 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and an RBI single to help lead D-G-F to a 3-1 victory over New York Mills.
"For a leadoff hitter, pitchers always like to come with the first-strike fast ball," Johnson said. "But after I hit that gap shot, I knew he was going to throw me a little junk. I knew I had to get that RBI and get that score where we needed it to be."
Not only did Johnson come up big at the plate, but he was a stalwart on the mound, pitching a complete game while fanning nine batters and allowing only one run on five hits.
"All I was working for was the first strike and trying to limit my (walks)," Johnson said.
And limit his walks he did, as he allowed only two free passes the entire game.
"Our strategy was to attack the batters with the slider that he has and blow the fast ball by them when he got two strikes on them," said Alex Johnson, who caught each of the pitcher's seven innings.
"This is my first year catching for him, but I've caught five games for him and we have pretty good chemistry," he said.
D-G-F head coach Allen Krueger was not surprised by his pitcher's big-time performance.
"Shawn, number one, is a competitor regardless of what sport he is doing, he's a competitor," Krueger said. "He is our most competitive kid and when we have big games, he is real consistent about showing up and performing."
Krueger was also impressed with his team's overall performance Monday night, specifically pitching and defense.
"I think our pitching has kept us in every game that we have played this year, and it kept us in this one tonight against one of the league leaders," Krueger said. "To know that our pitching is consistent and always giving us a chance is encouraging, and the thing that was most encouraging was our infield defense behind our pitching."
The all-around good game and mistake-free baseball from D-G-F allowed it to beat a solid New York Mills team.
New York Mills finished the high school baseball season 21-1 with many of the same players that play on its American Legion team.
"From a standings perspective, it was mathematically important," Krueger said. "I think it was more important for us to know that we can compete against a team that was awfully good at high school baseball."
D-G-F now stands 18-4 overall and 12-3 in league play as it heads into Thursday's matchup with conference leader Hawley.
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S. Johnson and A. Johnson. Snelgrove and Patron. W-S. Johnson. L-Snelgrove.