Dust Devils split with Spring Creek
Appeal Sports Writer
DAYTON – A sweep would have been nice. But everything considered, Dayton High baseball coach Craig Miller had no complaints after the Dust Devils split their Northern 3A doubleheader against Spring Creek on Saturday.
The Dust Devils absorbed a tough 12-7 loss in the 11-inning opener and rebounded to knock off the league-leading Spartans 9-1 in the second game. A sweep would have sent Dayton (3-2 league, 4-3 overall) into first-place in the Northern 3A race, yet the split kept the Dust Devils in the thick of the playoff picture behind Spring Creek (6-2 league).
“I thought we could have taken two,” Miller said. “We’re a quality team. We’re young, but we have quality players. We’ve had a problem getting up for the start of our first games (of doubleheaders). After that, we start playing better and then we played well in the second game.”
In game two, Dayton scored seven runs in the second inning to support Joe Delaski’s complete game three-hitter. For Delaski, it was a nice comeback after pitching the distance and suffering some defensive lapses in a 5-3 loss against Sparks on March 26.
“This is the best I’ve ever pitched. I was able to mix up my curveball, fastball and changeup and keep them off balance,” Delaski said. “Coming off the first game, I was tired. It was disappointing to lose that game, but think everybody on our team has a lot of heart.”
Delaski allowed one run, which came in the sixth inning, struck out six, walked three and hit one batter to earn the win. The crafty right-hander started the game by hitting the first batter and then issued a walk, but settled down to retire the side without any damage done. He also started a 1-6-3 double play in the third to thwart a Spring Creek rally.
Dayton sent 12 batters to the plate during its second inning rally. Kyle Yoder was hit by a pitch to lead off, Tom O’Brien reached on an infield hit and both runners advanced on a throwing error. James DeHaven and Andy Salazar lined RBI singles to right field, Stephen Owens singled to center to make it 3-0 and Jason McKinnon’s bloop single to center brought two more runs home. Delaski and Matt Hornback were hit by pitches back-to-back before Travis Wood singled to center to make it 7-0.
It was a rough outing for Spring Creek’s J.D. Judd, who gave up all seven runs and hit five batters before leaving with no outs in the second. The junior right-hander had just played all the way at catcher in an 11-inning game, a point the Dust Devils were reminded of before the game.
“He’s their No. 1 pitcher, he’s a competitor, but we knew he would be tired and we told the kids it was going to be important to get on him early,” Miller said.
The Dust Devils added two insurance runs in the fifth when Salazar singled, then Owens followed with a triple and Delaski with a double.
In game one, Spring Creek scored three runs in the first and second innings to take a 6-3 lead against Dayton ace Travis Wood (3-0).
“That first inning, we made some mistakes in the field and got behind and then had to claw our way back,” Miller said. “We’ve shown an ability to come back. We just need to start better.”
Dayton tied the score in the bottom of the first inning on Hornback’s three-run homer, then scored four runs in the seventh to rally from a 7-3 deficit and send the game into extra innings. Jayce Dillie singled and Yoder homered to bring Dayton with two runs, then Delaski’s RBI single and a run-scoring fielder’s choice by Wood tied the score.
Wood pitched nine innings for Dayton and was very effective after the second. The sophomore right-hander retired 13 straight batters between the fifth and ninth innings before leaving after his pitch count reached 144. He showed some true grit in the ninth when Spring Creek put two runners aboard on a walk and hit batsman, and then rang up a called-strike three with a full-count pitch on the outside corner to end the inning. Wood gave up two walks, which marked his first free passes in four games this season.
“We knew he was getting tired, but he kept wanting to go out each inning,” Miller said of Wood. “He threw a good game; if he’d gotten adequate support defensively, he would have been victorious.”
Spring Creek’s Jared Braaten picked up the win with an impressive 3.2 innings of relief after taking the mound in the seventh. He retired the side in order in the eighth and ninth, then worked out of a jam in the 10th.
Spring Creek won it with five runs in the 11th, aided by two hit batsman, Adam Layton’s two-run single to left and Landon Vega’s two-run double to right.
n Contact Dave Price at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 881-1220.