BROOKSIDE - Bridgeport coach Ted Downing stated, "I would rather win ugly than lose pretty," to describe the Bulldogs' eight-inning 7-6 win over River on Niekro Diamond at Bill Jobko Stadium Friday evening.
"In the game of baseball, ninety percent of the time one team does not win, the other team beats themselves," River's head coach Mark Romick had a similar assessment of his Pilot's performance, "You have to throw strikes and make routine plays to win in high school baseball."
From a coaching perspective it may not have been an ideal outing but for the fans in the stands it proved to be an exciting eight innings of action on the diamond.
River catcher Eric Dierkes blocks home plate is Bridgeport's Bradley Pritchett slides in during Friday’s game on the Niekro Diamond. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
The first two innings were one-two-three for both squads but in the third inning, River's Wes Smith kicked it off with a single from his number 8 spot in the order moved around to score on a fielders choice and Kam Brown scored when Eric Dierkes reached on an error.
River was up 2-0 but the Bulldogs answered with two outs as Patrick Britton scored on an RBI double by Bailey McGrath. McGrath was pushed to second when QJ Williams drew a walk then an errant throw to third as he moved on a double steal allowed him to make the turn and plate the tying run.
The Pilots would go ahead in the fifth as Williams reached on a error fielding a pop up in front of the plate, swiped second then came home when Brown singled.
Downing feared the error would cost him the game until Jonathan Kreiter led off the bottom of the sixth with a walk.
Garrett Speilvogel singled aboard to set the table for Bradley Pritchett who notched a 2 RBI double to deep center. Cody Reed reached on an error which sent Pritchett across the dish for an insurance run making it 5-3 in favor of the Bulldogs.
In the top of the seventh the Bulldogs got the first two batters and were just one out away from victory when Z Smith was issued a free pass. Kam Brown singled then Dierkes drew a walk to load the bases.
Craig Hupp reached on an error which plated Brown, Cody Caldwell got aboard with an intentional walk setting the stage for Chad Isaly's single that put River back up by one. 6-5.
Spielvogel and Pritchett both were issued free passes to begin the bottom of the seventh stanza then both raced to the plate on a error on a ball hit into left field. Spielvogel tied up the game but Pritchett was thrown out at the plate forcing the extra frame.
The Pilots went in order in the eighth as McGrath struck out the side.
Robert Teeman opened the extra frame for the Bulldogs with a single, Charlton's sacrifice bunt pushed him into scoring position and after McGrath was put on base Williams came to the plate and stroke an RBI single that gave the Bulldogs the win.
"This is our third extra inning game in a week," said Downing. "It was a total team effort tonight because we used everybody on the roster somewhere tonight,"
"We kept hanging in there, fought adversity when we could have easily quit and came back to win it in the eighth," said Downing. "We are very happy to be 9-2."
River falls to 1-8 with the loss and head to Shenandoah for a double header today while Bridgeprot travels to Paden City for a twin bill, both contests are scheduled for a noon start.
River 002 010 30 - 6 6 6
Bpt 002 003 11 - 7 6 4
Batteries Spielvogel, McGrath (6) and Teeman. Isaly, C. Islay, (6) Caldwell (7) and Dierkes.
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