Holmberg Muzzles Dogs, Milkmen Win in Chicago
By Jack Ankony, The Chicago Dogs
After trailing 6-0 to the Milwaukee Milkmen through four innings on Wednesday, Dogs manager Butch Hobson called on new signee Jase Dalton out of the bullpen.
Dalton made his professional debut for the Dogs on Tuesday and pitched one third of an inning, but Wednesday was his first opportunity to showcase his full pitching arsenal.
In an effort to block outside distraction, Dalton treated his first time pitching in the state of Illinois like it was just another day on the mound. Hit spots, throw strikes.
“I’m not scared of anybody,” Dalton said. “I just do my thing.”
While the Dogs lost their second game in a row to the Milkmen 6-3 on Wednesday, Dalton was a bright spot in his two innings of work. Dalton tossed two perfect frames and struck out one batter.
His four-pitch mix of fastball, curveball, slider and changeup was effective in keeping the Milwaukee hitters guessing. Dalton puts a big emphasis on pitch tunneling, aiming to make each pitch he throws look the same as the ball is released from his fingertips.
Dalton relates his mentality on the mound to hunting and fishing, which are his two favorite activities outside of pitching. The Mississippi-native Dalton said he enjoys bow hunting for deer and fishing for whatever will bite the hook.
Living in the moment and staying with reality is required when hunting or fishing, but also when Dalton toes the rubber. This has helped him develop a sharp focus on the mound when challenging hitters.
Before Wednesday’s game, Dalton and Dogs pitching coach Stu Cliburn discussed a gameplan of pounding the inside corner. Cliburn told Dalton that the Milwaukee hitters were uncomfortable with inside pitches, which proved to be an intelligent strategy when Dalton took the mound.
Since joining the Dogs on Tuesday after graduating from the University of South Alabama in the spring, Dalton said he has been welcomed to the Dogs’ clubhouse with open arms. He has talked with Dogs pitcher Max Foody at length about ways to attack hitters.
Foody tossed 1.1 perfect innings on Wednesday with three strikeouts, and has instilled confidence in Dalton that staying true to himself will help him get outs.
“Coming out here and seeing how cool the fans are and the guys on the team,” Dalton said. “It’s been awesome.”
After Dalton dazzled for two innings on the mound, the Dogs threatened to come back in the ninth inning. T.J. Bennett lined an RBI double to the left field wall to score a run, and Grant Kay drove in two Dogs with a single to centerfield.
But the rally was cut short as the Dogs lost their second game in a row to the Milkmen. The Dogs will now look to avoid the series sweep on Thursday as Garrett Christman makes his 10th start of the season for the Dogs at 6:05 p.m.