The Bruin Baseball season came down to one last at bat and Dayton Dow came up big with a two out RBI single to right to keep the season alive in the seventh. Dow would later smash a 3 RBI triple off the wall to put the game out of reach and finish a spectacular game for the junior. His hit rallied the Bruins to their first baseball sectional since ’04 and their first sectional overall since ’09 in front of a large, loud crowd at Bruin Field.
Taylor (19-9-1) struck first as Wynn Takacs lead-off the Titan first with the first of seven Dow walks. He moved to second on a sac bunt and scored on a two-out single hit just inside the third base bag by AJ Ramirez. Dow would settle down to allow just the one earned run on four hits over his six and two-thirds innings of work. He walked seven and struck out a batter.
Coach Tony Uggen spoke of Dow’s performance, “He walked more than I would have liked but he made good pitches when he had to and the defense played very well behind him with just one tough-hop error. We needed a solid effort out of him and the defense and both produced.”
The Bruin offense meanwhile struggled through the early innings before finally connecting on Titan starting pitcher Cole Braun more as the game went on. Coach Uggen said, “We went from not making much contact, to making contact, to hitting the ball hard but at people. I felt we were slowly getting to him and, thankfully, we finally got the run. They simply ran out of pitching and we were able to take advantage of four straight walks and a couple big hits in the eight to put some space between us.”
Taylor threatened in the fourth to pad their lead. Noah Poe doubled with one out and moved to third on a strikeout when Caleb Mealy was forced to throw the hitter out to record the K. After a Jacob Isaacs walk, Dow picked off Poe at third to end the threat.
Charlie Cranston reached on an error at third to start the seventh inning rally. After a fielder’s choice got Cranston at second off the bat of Mealy, Braxton Strait flew out to center for out number two. Blaine Riddle fouled off two full count strikes and eventually drew the walk to set up Dow’s heroics. Dow would rip a 1-2 pitch into right field to score Mealy to tie the game. Unfortunately, Riddle was thrown out when there was some miscommunication due to the crowd noise. Coach Uggen shared, “That was a tough one because I wanted Blaine (Riddle) to be aggressive in case the outfielder’s throw got away on the relay. I was waving my arms for him to hustle but was yelling for him to ‘stay here’ but he couldn’t hear me over the crowd noise. Thankfully, Kerigan (Reynard) pitched us out of the seventh so it ended up not mattering.”
Kerigan Reynard relieved Dow in the seventh right after Andrew Beckley made an incredible catch of a ball hammered to the right center field gap. Had it dropped, the Bruins would have been runners-up, but Beckley made the over the shoulder catch and immediately spun and fired the throw back to the infield to keep the runners at bay. At that point, with runners at first and second due to Dow reaching the 120 pitch limit, Reynard came on and struck out Caleb Murdock on four pitches to end the inning. “That was one heck of a catch by Andrew,” mentioned Uggen.
Meanwhile, Caleb Braun, who had pitched a great game, ran out of pitches himself. Reliever AJ Ramirez quickly got the first two outs in the top of the 8th before four consecutive walks to Tyler Cagle, Jake Wells, Cranston, and Mealy gave the Bruins their first lead of the day, 2-1. Branston Strait then laced a single through the hole at short scoring Wells and Cranston before Blaine Riddle singled to load the bases and Dow tripled to right to make it 7-1.
“We were fortunate that the draw took its toll on Taylor. They weren’t able to use their best pitcher in either game today, Noah Poe who was 9-2 on the mound this season, due to him having to throw 120 pitches on Saturday in their 11-inning win over Eastern. That certainly helped our cause, but you have to give our pitchers some credit. With the exception of the one bad inning in today’s morning game, Ross, Reynard, and Dow allowed just a single run over the remaining 21 innings,” Uggen continued, “I am really proud of every kid on this team. They peaked at the right moment and every guy fulfilled their role the entire tournament from the starters to the guys who never even saw the field. I also want to add that our fans were loud and positive tonight! They gave us a boost late in the game.”
The Bruins (17-12) will face a tall task on Saturday at the Wabash Regional. They face #1 ranked Lafayette Central Catholic (29-3) at 11am. Wapahani (16-11) and Whitko (21-9) follow at 1:00pm. Uggen concluded, “we will need all the support we can get on Saturday. I hope everyone appreciates what this group has accomplished just two years off a 4-23 season and year out from an 8-21 season. Come watch how hard these kids play! You won’t regret it.”