By Doug Gorman
It was a night for big run-producing innings and rallies but when all was said and done, the ELCA Chargers put one in the victory column against Dutchtown, winning the non-region game 12-6.
On a night more suited for football, ELCA overcame the cold temperatures and a Dutchtown rally to win on the road.
It was the Chargers' (4-1) fourth win in a row after dropping the season opener to Woodward Academy. Dutchtown fell to 2-4.
ELCA broke the game open in the top of the first inning with a five-run explosion. Base hits by Drew Griswell, David Whitis and Taylor Barron's RBI single to open the game gave the Chargers the early momentum.
Patrick Long kept things going for ELCA when he delivered a single that scored both Whitis and Barron.
The big blow in the inning came when Levi Haines tripled. He scored the final run in the inning when pitcher Cole Carrera helped his own cause with an RBI single.
ELCA could have put the game out of reach in the top of the second when it started the inning by loading the bases with nobody out.
However facing the heart of the ELCA lineup, Dutchtown freshman pitcher Riley Presnell got the 3-4-and-5 batters in the ELCA lineup out. The defensive effort by the Bulldogs included two strikeouts.
"I really felt like we could put the game away early," ELCA coach Doug Campbell said. "We didn't come through with the second-inning opportunity. We bunted intentionally, and then our other hitters couldn't get it done. "We had a couple of things that didn't go our way, but they fought back and didn't get discouraged and they kept their cool. That's something we might not have done last year."
Dutchtown put together its biggest inning of the game in the third when it tied the contest with a five-run rally.
"I was proud of the way we battled back," said Duchtown coach Michael Breedlove. "We started three freshman tonight, but a loss like this you can take, because we battled."
Jarred Arrington had the big blow in the inning with a RBI-producing double. Brandon Beil drove in Trey Nelson and Kellan Holiday knocked in Beil and Sam Kim and Holiday each had RBIs to highlight the teams comeback attempt.
The Bulldogs took their only lead of the game at 6-5 one inning later when Downing reached on a two-base error and later scored to put Dutchtown into the lead.
ELCA tied the game up in the top of the fifth when Long was hit by a pitch. Haines then came through with an RB I single to tie the game at 6-all.
The game stayed deadlocked until the top of the seventh inning when 10 men came to the plate for ELCA. The Chargers added six more runs to their side of the scoreboard. Whitis had a triple in the inning and Barron, Carrera, and Kevin Martin each had base hits and later scored.
Haines and Anthony Gomez also turned walks into runs for the Chargers.
Corey Westover struckout two in relief in the bottom of the seventh as the Chargers sealed the victory with a 1-2-3 inning.
In other spring sports:
North Clayton 2, North Atlanta 1 (baseball):
Chris Nutter went the distance and struckout 1o en route to the Eagles' win.
Mundy's Mill 5, Jonesboro 3: (baseball): Jonathan Whitted was the winning pitcher for the Tigers. The Tigers improved to 4-1. Jonesboro dropped to 1-4.
Riverdale 14, Maynard Jackson 8 (baseball): Samari Portlock went 4-for-4 with three home runs, including a grand slam with seven RBIs as the Raiders moved to 4-2.
Locust Grove 1, Rutland 0: The Locust Grove soccer team won for the first time in school history with a victory Friday night.