Dove Creek baseball is back.
After pushing 4A Montezuma-Cortez to the brink last Thursday, the 1A Bulldogs bounced back in a big way.
Dove Creek trailed Utah rival Monticello 3-0 early Friday afternoon in the Montezuma-Cortez Invitational. But the Bulldogs' bats came alive and they scored eight unanswered runs in an 8-5 win.
Saturday was even sweeter.
Dove Creek played its No. 3 and No. 4 pitchers, and scored 10 runs off of eight hits in a comfortable 10-6 win over rival Dolores.
It's been a long time coming since the Bulldogs beat the Bears.
"It's nice," said fourth-year senior outfielder Tyler Ebberts. "The team works hard and we're pretty dedicated this year. I'm glad we have the win."
These two San Juan Basin League rivals will meet at least three more times this season. Although this game didn't count toward the league standings, Dove Creek has clearly sent a message that it's a title contender this year.
"That's what we want to do," said Bulldogs coach Ken Soper about making a case for being an early SJBL favorite. "That gives us momentum for when we do play in the league. It's a good win."
Dove Creek (3-1) took second-place in the Montezuma-Cortez Invite with a 2-1 record. The host Panthers won the tournament, going a perfect 3-0.
"This team had confidence before the season started," Soper said. "They were enthused about baseball, they had confidence that they were going to win. This definitely will help (with) the victories."
Dolores, on the other hand, fell to 0-4 after the tourney, struggling with its pitching.
The Bulldogs took advantage Bears starting pitcher Tyler Weir. He walked five Dove Creek batters in the first inning, which the Bulldogs converted into three runs. Weir was relieved after 1/3 of an inning. Chaz Thompson pitched the rest of the game and got the Bears out of the top of the first down 3-0.
Weir hit an RBI-single in the bottom half to get Dolores on the board down 3-1. But the Bears just couldn't stop the Bulldogs.
Dove Creek scored three runs in the second inning and tacked on four more in the fourth. The Bulldogs were able to use three pitchers in the game, due to having a large lead on the scoreboard. Soper was happy to get extended minutes from his other pitchers.
"Tyson Smith is only our third string pitcher. I thought he did a good job the first time he's ever pitched," Soper said about his winning thrower.
Ebberts led Dove Creek on offense, hitting 3-of-4 with an RBI. Senior first baseman Klancey Krafka batted 2-for-3.
"I've been working on my hitting a lot. I've been getting a lot of help from the coaches," Ebberts said. "We're pretty good. There's a lot of confidence right now."
Weir paced Dolores, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Dove Creek and Dolores will be in Farmington, N.M., Thursday through Saturday to participate in the Piedra Vista High School tourney. The Bulldogs play the Farmington junior varsity Thursday at 4 p.m.