The Dolores Bears baseball team just keeps finding ways to win. Its winning streak reached seven on Friday with a doubleheader sweep of Nucla, 9-6 and 16-6, at Joe Rowell Park.
Dolores (10-3, 5-0 2A San Juan Basin League) trailed early in each game but used explosive hitting when the team needed to pull away from the Mustangs in each contest.
The Bears trailed 1-0 for five innings in the first game and they couldnt buy a hit against Nucla starting pitcher Brice Steffan. But an eight-run, six-hit bottom of the fifth catapulted Dolores to an 8-1 lead.
Again, we started slow and then the bats came around the fifth inning, Bears coach Jim Everin said.
The Mustangs rallied for three runs in the sixth, and Dolores junior starting pitcher Byron Crites was pulled in relief for closer Austin McCracken. The senior pitched the last two innings in game one to earn the save, and he pitched a complete game in the second game to get the win.
They started hitting the ball and catching up, so we had to do something different, McCracken said. I closed out the last two innings of the first game. And after the game, coach asked me if I was still good, and I said, Yeah.
In game one, Dolores added an insurance run in the sixth and McCracken gave up two in the seventh but held the Mustangs off. McCracken also hit 3-for-4 at the plate with an RBI. Senior left fielder Ryan Greene hit an RBI-triple that cleared the bases in the fifth inning on his way to a three-RBI game.
I wanted to save Austin for game two, and I just didnt want to pitch him very much at all. But we had to get that game under our belt, so we did, Everin said.
In the first inning of game two, McCracken appeared fatigued as Nucla put up four early runs to take a 4-0 lead. The Bears hung in, chipped away at the lead and trailed just 6-5 heading into the bottom of the fourth. Dolores took the lead for good at 8-6 going into the fifth-inning and McCracken didnt allow any more runs, leading the Bears to a 10-point, six-inning mercy rule win.
It was good to get the win. We needed that, said McCracken.
Sophomore second baseman Kolton Shull had a monster game hitting to ball, going 5-for-5 with four RBIs. Shortstop Tyler Underwood went 4-for-4, and Greene was 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. McCracken hit 2-for-4 and struck out eight on the mound.
Dolores is at Ignacio today for a doubleheader starting at 1 and 3 p.m.
Its critical for us to beat Ignacio. That way we go into our districts seeded No. 1, McCracken said.
Reach Bobby Abplanalp at email@example.com