By Kyle Koso
The Dirtbags Camo 11u baseball team found itself in a standoff, but that all changed when the squad decided to blast off.
Tied 5-all with the Dallas Raiders Silver in the opening game Wednesday of the U.S. Club Nationals at East Cobb Park, the Dirtbags (NC) hit around in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring seven runs in the frame and ultimately posting a 12-5 victory. Starting pitcher Dylan England threw five complete innings to get the win, with just one pitch that he'd prefer to do over that became a bases-clearing double in the top of the second.
Seven different players had at least one RBI for the Dirtbags.
"We were waiting, but we knew if we could settle in we could start hitting," said Dirtbags coach Richard Miller. "We finally did. This team has a great attitude; they work well together, support each other, and it's just a good team overall."
"It was hyped up in the dugout, and we were feeling pretty good," said Nate Eason, whose two-run double in the fourth made it 9-5. "I was thinking (my hit) should get the team pumped up."
The Raiders jumped ahead 4-0 with that double from Grayson Davis and a single from Alden Armor that fell between two outfielders. In the bottom of the second, a hit batter, four singles and an infield throwing error allowed the Dirtbags to tie it up.
Ethan Bognar dribbled a hit about 25 feet into the infield, enough to beat out a single and drive in Nate Revis to push the Dirtbags up, 5-4. The Raiders countered in the top of the fourth with Armor reaching first after getting hit by a pitch. On Austin Willis' perfect bunt, Armor kept running to third base (which was unoccupied), and he scored when an errant throw bounced away.
Meanwhile, England was particularly sharp. Other than the second inning, he allowed two hits, closing with six strikeouts.
"I was feeling confident," England said. "I just didn't want to give up any more runs after that double. I knew my defense would back me up, so I tried to throw strikes."
"He pitched very well, hitting the strike zone in and out, up and down. Anywhere I called it, he was placing it there," Miller added.
Carson Robertson reached base three times, scored twice and drove in two for the Dirtbags.