The two 15u teams traded punches, but the Bulldogs came out triumphant
DIXON — Leading 10-6 going into the seventh, the Dixon Bulldogs gave their coach a scare when a throwing error and a RBI single cut their lead over the Waynesville Warriors to two, but they were able to take the lumps and still win 10-8.
In the first few innings the roles were flip-flopped, with the 15-and-under Warriors “A” team holding a 2-0 lead thanks to a RBI double from Ethan Gatzemeyer and a run-scoring single by Justen Leifer.
In the top of the second, Waynesville's pitcher Tanner Simpson helped himself out by scoring Noah Ochoa who had tripled to open the inning to make it a 3-0 lead for the Warriors.
Waynesville coach Chad Bolin said it's nothing new to see his team jump out to a hot start.
“It's a trend that we've seen with this group of guys,” Bolin said. “They come right out of the box firing on all cylinders. We've scored early in every game we've played with this group, but the tend to get content and taper off a little bit. That hurt us today.”
The first counterattack by the Bulldogs was in the bottom of the third inning. Walker Shelton and Braden Mahurin both hit two-run doubles to take a 4-3 lead.
In the next half-inning Ethan Brown took the lead back for Waynesville with an infield RBI single, but a five-run bottom of the fourth for Dixon was the nail in the coffin.
Mahurin was again a large catalyst for the Bulldogs, hitting a three-run double to push Dixon's lead to 9-4.
Coach Shelton was thoroughly pleased with his team's resilience.
“This is only my fifth game with a lot of these guys who are incoming freshman,” Shelton said. “I thought they did a nice job of getting behind early, but coming back and sticking with it.”
The Warriors scored a run on a fielder's choice and another on a RBI double by Ochoa in the top of the fifth.
Dixon took one run back on a passed ball that scored Mahurin in the sixth.
In the top of the seventh, Waynesville coaches noticed the Bulldogs' pitcher was having troubles controlling his pitches and told their hitters to take until they got a strike.
The plan was executed perfectly at first, with Gatzemeyer and Leifer starting the inning off with walks.
Later, Gatzemeyer was able to steal third and then advance home on a throwing error to start cutting into the lead.
With two outs, Cam'ren Starks swatted a RBI single to pull the Warriors closer.
But a strikeout ended Waynesville's hopes. Bolin said he had to tip his hat to the pitcher.
“He found his groove and made adjustments,” Bolin said. “We tried to take advantage of it, and we got some baserunners on and scored some runs late. We're proud of [our guys] for that, they understood what we were trying to accomplish.”