Terrific Trio: Sharp pitching staff propels D-G-F to state tournament
DILWORTH - When a baseball team strings together 16 consecutive wins, odds are that team's pitching is sharp. That is exactly the case with the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton American Legion baseball team. D-G-F features a solid front-end starting rotat...
DILWORTH - When a baseball team strings together 16 consecutive wins, odds are that team's pitching is sharp.
That is exactly the case with the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton American Legion baseball team.
D-G-F features a solid front-end starting rotation of Isaiah Greene, Shawn Johnson and Zack Nelson who have propelled D-G-F to the Minnesota Division II state tournament, which begins today. D-G-F plays tournament host Sacred Heart in the first round at 7 p.m.
Greene has been D-G-F's ace this summer going 9-0 with a 1.88 earned-run average with a team-high 92 strikeouts.
"It's kind of nice to go into every game not having to worry about the pitching being the problem," Greene said. "It has been more about focusing on defense and hitting so whether it's been me, Shawn, Zack or any other pitcher, we have been pretty solid."
Greene said his go-to pitch has been his curveball, which he is not afraid to throw no matter the count. He also has an effective fastball and has been developing a changeup.
That arsenal has kept opposing hitters to a .156 batting average.
"Isaiah has a hard-biting curveball that he'll throw on 2-0 just to get back into the count and sometimes he feels he has more control of his curveball than any of his other pitches," said D-G-F head coach Allen Krueger, whose team is making its first state appearance since 2010 when it hosted the tournament.
The last time D-G-F qualified for state as the champions of District 9 was 2006.
D-G-F's No. 2 starter is Johnson, who hadn't been a regular starting pitcher until this year after recovering from a knee injury.
Krueger made the suggestion that Johnson, who also catches, throw more this summer after he returned from Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls, Minn., where he plays football and baseball.
"I haven't pitched very much in my career, but this year I got a lot healthier," Johnson said. "I throw the ball hard and throw strikes."
The move has worked well with Johnson posting a 7-2 record, a 2.08 ERA and 66 strikeouts.
"(Shawn) is a different kind of pitcher," Krueger said. "He works a little slower. He's a power pitcher who touches 80 miles per hour and has good control."
"We have been able to go one-two with Isaiah and Shawn in the last two tournaments and have been able to get off to 2-0 starts in both the sub-districts and districts."
Nelson - who features a knuckleball as one of his pitches - is D-G-F's No. 3 starter going 7-1 with a 2.80 ERA and 39 strikeouts.
The trio said there isn't much of a competition between the staff to outperform the other.
"I think we all know each other's abilities," Nelson said. "We know that we all are pretty good and we all want to help out the team."
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