For the second time this season, Pat Cottrell had the Fort Atkinson Generals’ number.
The Blue Devils pitcher tossed his second complete game of the year against the Generals as Jefferson downed Fort Atkinson, 8-0, in a Home Talent Sunday League game Saturday at Fischer Field in Jefferson.
“Pat Cottrell pitched really well, hopefully one of these games we’ll learn how to hit against him,” Fort Atkinson manager Sam Hartwick said. “He pitched really well, kept us off balance.”
Cottrell pitched all nine innings, surrendering just three hits and no walks in his shutout performance.
“I always have in mind they have a good lineup,” said Cottrell, who struck out four. “I just try to bring my best stuff and know in my mind I want to go the distance.”
For the Generals, their recipe of success of sound defense and advantageous offense was unable to fall in place against the Blue Devils.
“Never a good thing when you have more errors (4) on defense than hits (3) in the game, won’t win a lot of games like that,” Hartwick said. “The way we win games is good defense and timely hitting.”
The Blue Devils also beat Waterloo in a makeup game on Sunday, 14-1.
The win against Waterloo was Jefferson’s (10-2) sixth straight. Three of the six victories have come against teams currently in the top five of the Southeast standings.
“The guys are starting to come together,” Jefferson manager Ryan Wagner said. “We talked about playing as a team. You see it all around, the pitchers are pitching, the defense is playing well and we’re hitting good.”
The Blue Devils got on the board early in the bottom of the first after Thomas Schlesner hit a two-out triple, which scored Dylan Ott and Steve Winter.
Fort Atkinson got its first hit of the game in the top of the fourth from Drew Dunkleberger. Dunkleberger stole second with no outs, but was stranded in scoring position.
It looked like Jefferson was ready to blow the doors open in the bottom the fourth, as the Blue Devils loaded up the bases with one out.
However, Fort Atkinson’s Chris Koepke struck out the next batter, gave up an RBI single to Brandon Laesch and then popped up the next hitter to get out of the inning with minimal damage.
The fifth started similarly for the Generals as Dayne Sebranek reached second with no outs in the inning.
But, Cottrell battled back and forced three straight outs to end the top of the inning.
Schlesner picked his third RBI of the day in the bottom of the fifth with a sacrifice fly and Ryan Brost got beamed with the bases loaded to make it 5-0 after five.
“They’re aggressive offensively,” Hartwick said. “They have amazing hitters, one through nine. If you give base runners or free passes, you’re getting yourself in a lot of trouble.”
In the bottom of the sixth, Roby Schlesner matched his brother’s production of three RBIs with a single swing of the bat, connecting on a 3-run home run to seemingly put a dagger in the Generals’ chances as he ballooned the game to 8-0.
“I think Roby hitting that 3-run home run there deflated Fort a little bit,” Wagner said. “Seemed like the energy kind of got lost for them a little bit.”
“It was huge,” Cottrell said. “We left the bases loaded a couple times. It was big to get that extra cushion so I could just go out there and continue to throw strikes.”
The loss put Fort Atkinson at 7-4 in the Southeast standings, tied with Evansville, who the Generals lost to 4-0 earlier in the year.
Both teams have four games before they face off Aug. 4 in the regular season finale.
Hartwick noted his team’s defensive play will be key down the stretch.
“We play Albion, Stoughton and Evnasville, so we’re going to have to win games against teams ahead of us,” Hartwick said. “The game against Evansville is obviously going to be a huge one, we’re going to need our bats, and our defense is really going to have to step up.”
Fort Atkinson will play Waterloo Friday on the road at 7 p.m.
The Generals likely will be cheering on Jefferson Saturday as the Blue Devils host Evansville at 1 p.m.
“Every game is big now for seeding purposes,” Wagner said. “We just need to show up and play Jefferson baseball.”
JEFFERSON 8, FORT ATKINSON 0
Generals 000 000 000 — 0 4 3
Blue Devils 200 123 00X — 8 11 0
Pitching (ip-h-er-bb-so) — FA: Koepke (L-5-8-5-3-3), Tabaska (3-3-1-0-0); J: Cottrell (W-9-3-0-0-4)
Leading hitters — J: Roby Schlesner 2x5 (HR), Winter 2x4, Thomas Schlesner 3B, Christian Ott 2x4 (2B)