Dayton baseball grabs 12-7 win

A mercy rule victory looked as if it was within reach for the Dayton baseball team Thursday afternoon at home, but the errors that plagued its opponent, Silver Stage, were apparently contagious.

The Dust Devils committed two errors in the fifth inning and gave up six unearned runs, but found the resiliency to bounce back and take a 12-7 win over the Nighthawks in a non-league game.

"We had an answer for it," Dayton coach Jay Merrell said. "We came back and we could have really laid down there and we didn't.

"I think the offense is starting to get on track after the last two games. I'm excited about that."

Resiliency is something the Dust Devils haven't seen much of early in the season. They stumbled out to a 5-10 record and have just one win in the Northern 3A (1-5).

They cruised through the first three innings en route to a 7-1 lead. Connor Oliver had seven strikeouts in that time.

In the third inning, Dayton showed some signs of things unraveling. The Dust Devils committed an error after Jason Maxim stumbled in right field trying to field a single. The error allowed the runner to reach third and he scored one batter later.

In the fourth, the Dust Devils were working toward getting out of the inning with two outs and one runner on base, but committed a throwing error for what would have been the third out.

Oliver walked the next batter and Cody Boone came to the plate with the bases loaded. And with one fastball left up in the zone, Boone put the game at 7-5 with a grand slam that cleared the 335-foot marker in left field.

"It was just a fastball high, nothing special and it felt nice," said Boone, who added that it was his first grand slam.

The Nighthawks scored two more unearned runs in the inning on another Dust Devil error to the game at 7-7.

But then Dayton did what it hadn't done much in the season "bounce back. Dayton used three hits and three Silver Stage errors to post three runs in the inning and recapture a 10-7 lead.

Houston Bernston knocked in what would be the winning run on a 2-2 single to center.

Maxim came in for Oliver, who gave up seven hits and finished with eight strikeouts, to start the fifth and remedied his earlier error by striking out the side in the fifth inning and retiring all six batters in the final two innings.

"It's a great combination and we found that tonight with Connor starting and him coming in behind him," Merrell said.

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