ROCK FALLS – Austin Donoho put together quite a highlight package for the home fans during the first game of a Saturday doubleheader against Sterling.
The Rock Falls senior tossed a one-hitter, and blasted a long home run to lead the Rockets to a 10-0, five-inning victory against the Golden Warriors. Rock Falls later completed the sweep, taking the second game 3-1.
Donoho (2-2) struck out seven of the first 10 batters he faced, and didn’t allow a baserunner until he walked Brady Siegmund with two outs in the fourth inning. The only hit he allowed was a leadoff single by Rafa Sosa in the fifth.
“I just tried to pound the zone,” said Donoho, who finished with eight strikeouts. “I mixed it up – curveball, slider, whatever was working at the time. I just tried to pound the zone and get ahead.”
At the plate, Donoho sparked a six-run uprising in the bottom of the second inning by leading off with a long home run to left against Sterling starter Bryant Lilly (2-2).
Lilly walked four batters in the inning, and three of them scored. The key hit was a two-run single by Dallas Jones, and two more runs scored on wild pitches by Lilly.
“Obviously big innings always hurt you,” Sterling coach Nick Pepper said, “and that was a dagger right there. We just weren’t able to bounce back from it. They were hitting the ball, we were walking guys, and couldn’t make plays when we needed to make plays. That happens sometimes.”
The Rockets added a run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Jones, then finished off the game with three more in the fifth.
Lilly retired the first two batters before hitting Quinton Matznick with a pitch, then allowing singles to Logan Pillars and Reid Akerman; Akerman’s base hit drove in Matznick, and Pillars later scored on a wild pitch.
Reliever Rafael Escalante came in and walked Clay Velazquez, then hit Dustin Huycke and Dallas Jones to end the game. The bases-loaded hit by pitch forced in Akerman for Jones’ fourth RBI of the game.
The lone highlights for Sterling came from catcher Zach Rehmert. He prevented further damage in the second inning by picking off Rock Falls baserunner Jacob Mammosser at third base.
In the fourth inning, Rehmert threw out Huycke trying to steal second.
Rock Falls fielders needed to make just seven putouts behind Donoho.
“It’s easy to play behind Austin with the way he threw today,” Rock Falls coach Donnie Chappell said. “When he’s throwing like that, defense becomes a lot easier. Offensively, we did a lot of good things. We’re getting better, and we’ll keep working at it.”
In the second game, Cayden Erickson got the ball for Rock Falls and tossed a gem. He allowed just one unearned run and three hits in seven innings. Two of the hits were singles by Turner Morse.
Donoho and Logan Pillers each drove in runs for Rock Falls (11-7). Huycke had two hits, while Mammosser added a double.
Siegmund took the loss for Sterling (3-10), allowing three runs and seven hits while striking out six in six innings.
Rock Falls def. Sterling 10-0 & 3-1
Star of the game: Austin Donoho, RF, 1-hit shutout, 8 Ks, hit solo HR in opener
Key performers: Dallas Jones, RF, 4 RBIs in opener; Cayden Erickson, RF, 3-hitter, allowed 1 unearned run. 9 Ks in nightcap; Turner Morse. Sterling, 2 hits in nightcap
Up next: Newman at Rock Falls & Sterling at Geneseo, both 4:30 p.m. Monday