Bridgeport head coach Ted Downing got a birthday present from his Bulldogs as they hammered visiting Barnsville 14-8 on Niekro Diamond at Bill Jobko Stadium Monday afternoon.
"They tell me this is the first time since 2008 we have beaten Barnesville," said a very happy Downing. "I was pleased with the effort and pleased with the way we are playing, I just hope we can keep it up."
The youthful squads both started sophomores on the mound as the 'Rocks' Mitchell Wells faced off against Bridgeport's Parker Dyson.
T-L Photo/MIKE PALMER
Barnesville SECOND?baseman Dylan MacMillan attempts the tag as Bridgeport’s Bradley Pritchett dives back into the base on an attempted pick-off play during Monday’s game on the Niekro Diamond at Perkins Field. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
Bridgeport scored two runs in the first inning on a Bradley Prichett double. D.J. Butler's Shamrocks plated the leadoff runner in the third to cut the lead in half.
The Dogs answered right back as their bats cut loose in the third batting around and scoring five more runs chasing Barnesville's sophomore starter.
Junior hurler David Stewart came on in relief after two and two-thirds and got the next batter on a ground ball to short stop to end the inning.
"Parker Dyson threw a great game for us," complimented Downing. "He got into a little trouble in the third inning and had to throw about 20 extra pitches but other than that, he did real well."
Dyson tossed five complete allowing just one run, three hits striking out eight while issuing just three walks.
Prichett notched another pair of RBIs in the bottom of the fourth to give the Bulldogs a 9-1 cushion. Downing was looking at the pitch count and sent senior Jonathan Kreiter to the mound to start the sixth.
The senior began the inning notching a K but the rest of the Shamrock's lineup liked the change as they took advantage of 3 singles and three walks to close the gap to 9-6. Downing made the change to Bailey McGrath after just one-third inning.
"I take responsibility for the slow start," said Butler. "We came off the bus flat and I did not have them ready to play.
"I was proud of the way our kids played," the seven-year veteran at Barnesville said. "They played until the last out."
Once again the Bulldogs would squelch the rally with their own offensive burst as Dyson would sacrifice in a run and catcher Robert Teeman would notch two RBIs as Bridgeport countered with five runs to put it our of reach.
The score was 14-6 but the Shamrocks still had some fight left as they loaded the bases and threatened again in the top of the seventh.
The Bulldogs third pitcher of the evening McGrath bulled up his neck and got the final out to preserve the birthday gift for their skipper.
"We hit the ball well all the way through the lineup," commented Downing. "When you do that you can afford to make a few mistakes on defense.
"We are young, we had five sophomores and one on the mound so we still have a lot to learn," the coach reflected as his team is off to a 3-0 start.
Barnesville is 0-1 and will be waiting for the Bulldogs on Wednesday when they travel to the the Shamrocks' home turf for a rematch.
Barnesville 010 005 2 8 7 4
Bridgeport 205 205 x 14 9 2
Batteries Barnesville Wells, Stewart (3), Huntsman and Pritchard; Dyson, Kreiter (6), McGrath and Teeman.
Palmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org