The Creswell Bulldogs came out swinging, scoring 20 runs in three games to open nonleague baseball play with three wins last week. The Dawgs edged host Jefferson 3-1 on March 11 and bested host Oakland 7-6 and 10-6 in a doubleheader on March 15.
Dean Howard opened on the mound against Jefferson, striking out nine with no hits and two walks in four innings.
Freshman pitcher Gio Mediati pitched the final three innings, giving up one hit and one unearned run and striking out four.
Howard went 1-for-2 from the plate with a double and an RBI. Jarek Hodge went 1-for-3 with an RBI and Mediati went 1-for-3 with an RBI.
”Due to the snow we had only five practices and all were inside, so I was very happy with the way we played on the field,” said first-year head coach, Tyler Main. ”The kids held their own against a good Jefferson squad, and with just one error we got off to a great start playing winning baseball.”
In Game One at Oakland, Creswell was up 4-3 in the sixth when Howard slammed a three-run homer to put the Dawgs up 7-3. Oakland climbed back into the game during its half-inning, but the Bulldogs held on for the win.
Howard went 2-for-5 with seven RBIs – including his three-run homer – and two runs. Dallton Dewey went 1-for-2 with three runs and six stolen bases; Avery Wells went 2-for-4 with two runs; Hodge was 2-for-3; and Levi Bones and Dawson Sharkey each had an RBI.
Dewey pitched five and one-third innings, striking out six and giving up five runs and five walks. Austin Gabriel pitched two-thirds of an inning and Howard closed the game with a strikeout and two easy pop-ups in the final inning.
Clutch hitting was the name of the game for Creswell in Game 2. The Dawgs scored four in the first, only to have their bats go quiet from the second through the fifth as Oakland gained ground. But ”grit and timely hitting came through for us in the top of the sixth,” Main noted.
Freshman Camrin Marple came up big for the Bulldogs: ”Not only did he catch for the first time, he caught five innings with only three passed balls,” Main said. ”But nothing was bigger than his first varsity hit being a two-RBI line drive up the middle to give us a 7-6 lead.”
Creswell rode that momentum to victory with three more runs.
Dawson Sharkey pitched the first four innings, striking out two and walking two. Nick Kubishta pitched for three ground balls and two walks in one inning, and Howard struck out three in just 13 pitches in the final inning.
Wells went 3-for-4 with two runs; Howard went 2-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and five stolen bases; and Marple was 1-for-3 with two RBIs.
”Timely hitting and offense were big for us; our lack of outside practice showed at times for our fielding and defense, but our leadership and true grit came through for us in both games (of the doubleheader),” Main said.
”That is such a great advantage to build early on in the season,” he added. ”If we can keep that dedication and grit throughout the season, we are going to be tough to beat.”