After a two-week layoff, it made sense that the 11u Kansas City Dirt Dogs might have some difficulties getting started Wednesday at the 11u Triple Crown World Series in Steamboat Springs, Colo.
Strangely, the squad played much better in their first contest, a 7-0 victory over the Saddleback Cowboys (CA), than it did in the nightcap. But both games were salted away as victories, with the Dogs cleaning up against the CC Bruins (CO), 10-4, at Ski Town South field.
In Game 2, the Dirt Dogs had to come back from behind twice, but with relief pitchers Collin Dobson and Grant Hollister throwing four strong innings in support, the offense broke loose, scoring seven runs total in the fourth and fifth innings. The team will look for a pool play sweep Thursday, taking on the Houston Pioneers early in the morning.
“We thought we’d come out and struggle a little bit. We played really good that first game, then we kind of lost our focus and concentration,” said Dirt Dogs coach Jason Moss. “We had some mental mistakes, but overall the boys battled. Our offense overcame our defense there in that last one.”
A single by KC’s Mason Ward drove in Aiden Morarity in the second inning to tie the game at 3-all; Bryce Vance singled, stole a base and scored on an error for the Bruins to put them back up, 4-3, in the third inning. In the top of the fourth, Dobson scored on an error to tie it up again, and a bit later Evan Damario came to the plate with two on and two out.
He muscled a single just out of reach of the shortstop to bring in both runs, and the Dogs had a lead they would not surrender.
“I was just trying to get it on the ground and get the runners in. It felt good, though,” Damario said. “I think we played really good that first game, maybe OK the second game, but a win is a win.”
“I was happy for him – he was 0-for-4 at that point and had been struggling. He put together a good at-bat,” Moss said. “He let a 2-0 pitch go right down the middle, but the 2-1 pitch he got in the hole. That was a big hit, and at that point the boys took a deep breath and relaxed.”
Dobson also had two hits, including a double that drove in a run in the fifth, to go with two runs, a stolen base and a RBI. That was a nice tonic, as he hit into a double play in the first inning.
“I didn’t like the double play, but like (YouTube comedian) Domingo Ayala says, you’ve got to get out of your head sometimes,” Dobson said with a smile. “You can’t be a selfish player – you need to be a team player.”
Morarity drove in three runs for the Dogs; Caden Carter scored twice, and Hollister had two hits and scored two runs. For the Bruins, Vance reach ed base twice and scored two runs, Miles DeBolt had a double and two RBI, and Wyatt Rudder singled and drove in a run.