Looking to build confidence before what it hopes will be a long postseason run, the Dove Creek High School boys baseball team took the field for a home game against Nucla on April 28 and came away with a 6-2 victory.
Keying the win was an outstanding pitching performance by Hayden Gray, who allowed one earned run and one hit over seven innings of work. The freshman struck out nine batters and walked only one in what was likely the finest pitching performance of his high school career.
While Gray flummoxed Nucla hitters, Dove Creek’s offense scratched and clawed its way to one run in the second inning and one run in the third inning before Nucla scored its only two runs of the game in the top of the fourth inning to tie the game, 2-2.
The Bulldogs were not to be denied a victory however, as their offense scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning much to the chagrin of the home fans.
Leading the Dove Creek offense was freshman Kieron Huskey, who went 2-4 and drove in one run. Freshman Gauge Thompson went 1-3 with one double and one RBI, and Gray had two hits, including a double, and drove in one run. Derek Kibel and Logan Hamilton also drove in runs for the Bulldogs.
Prior to its win over Nucla, Dove Creek traveled to Monticello on April 26 and lost, 15-3, in five innings. The setback was disappointing in light of the fact that the Bulldogs defeated Monticello, 7-6, earlier this season.
Freshman Branson Smith started on the mound for Dove Creek and allowed 10 earned runs in three and a third innings. Ty Smith entered the game in the fourth inning and registered one out.
Derek Kibel enjoyed an outstanding day at the plate for Dove Creek as the senior went 2-3 with a double and a home run and drove in three runs.
Currently 9-9 on the season, Dove Creek travels to Salida for its Class 1A District Tournament on May 4. As of The Journal’s press deadline, the Bulldogs’ opening round opponent had yet to be determined.