Dorman Takes Series From Boiling Springs
Region play got underway this week for all of our local teams, and for a couple of them, region championship implications are at stake right off the rip. Boiling Springs, the only local 5A team ranked in the preseason polls, and Dorman, who is also a perennial contender for the region title, opened their 3 game set on Monday night at Bulldog Park in Boiling Springs.
The Bulldogs, as usual, feature a lineup loaded with speed and ability to put pressure on defenses by putting the ball in play. They also play strong defense in the field and have a pitching staff that has some depth in it.
Dorman, although they lost a lot of good hitters from their 2022 squad, still has some young guys that have plenty of potential to make a big impact on top of their returnees – Mitch Wilson, Bray Parton, and Chas Welch. They add Clay Crossley (Junior 2B), Colten Earnhardt (Sophomore SS), Aaron Sturgill (Junior DH), Campbell Whitener (Junior 3B), Grayson Morton (Junior Catcher/1B), and Palmer Hornick (Freshman utility). This team, though young, has the talent and pitching to still make a run at the region, and they got tested in a big way right off the rip Monday night.
Boiling Springs trotted out their ace, senior Clemson commit Jackson Cole, to open the series in front of a nice crowd at home despite the icy cold temps and even colder wind chill. Luckily for that enthusiastic crowd of fans from both Roebuck and “The Springs”, he helped to make this game (and for you readers, this story) relatively short and sweet.
Cole absolutely shut the Cavaliers down, going a full 7 innings. You’re probably thinking “Oh.. Had to be a complete game shutout, right?
Unfortunately no. He ended up getting a no-decision since he ended up hitting his pitch limit in the top of the 7th, and departed with a tied ball game.
Dorman rolled out Bray Parton as their starter, who was just as effective as Cole. Both hurlers did an incredible job of just attacking and using the whole zone, throwing for striked and seemingly not wasting a single pitch. Parton departed after 5 and 2 thirds innings at 75 pitches, surrendering just 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3. He gave way to Campbell Whitener, who pitched the rest of the way. He threw 43 pitches in 2.1 innings and ended up on the short end of being the pitcher of record after 2 hits, 3 walks, and 3 K’s.
On the flipside, after 7 complete innings for the Bulldogs, Jackson Cole gave way to another kid named Jackson. Jackson Reel came out and earned the win in relief after just 1 inning. He surrendered 1 hit with no walks and 1 strikeout in a shutout frame. Cole’s final line was 7 shutout innings, 3 hits, 1 walk, and 14 strikeouts.
The Bulldogs had several chances to break the goose egg early in the game. They had 2 left on base in the bottom of the 5th, left the sacks full in the 6th, stranded 1 runner in each the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 7th. In total, they left an entire lineup’s worth of guys on the basepaths.
The big rally that made the difference in the bottom of the 8th started with a 1 out walk issued to Bulldog 3rd baseman Luke Stephens. Right fielder Justin Dawkins followed it with a single through the right side that allowed Stephens to go 1st to 3rd on a hit and run. Dawkins advanced on defensive indifference before Chancen Cole struck out swinging for the 2nd out.
Enter the hero. Freshman infielder Titus Hutchins came up to the plate pinch hitting for senior outfielder Rylee Douglas with the winning run on 3rd. He jumped on the first he saw and delivered a line drive into shallow center for a walkoff RBI single and the Bulldogs took the series opener 1-0 in 8 innings.
In spite of being held to a 3 hit shutout with no extra base hits, Dorman was led by Mitch Wilson, who was 1 for 2 with a walk. Grayson Morton, Mitch Powell, and Chas Welch each had a single.
Boiling Springs was led by Justin Dawkins, who went 2-3 with a pair of singles and a walk. Rylee Douglas and Luke Stephens were both 1 for 3 at the dish. Douglas had a single while Stephens tallied a double and a walk with the winning run scored.
Pitching, defense, and timely hitting are what win you baseball games and the team that makes the least mistakes usually comes out on top. These 2 “duh” statements brought to you by.. Absolutely nobody.
All kidding aside, that is an accurate summary of game 2 of the big region 2-5A series between the Boiling Springs Bulldogs and the Dorman Cavaliers at Ronnie J Sims Field in Roebuck on Wednesday night.
After a phenomenal pitcher’s duel that came down to a walkoff pinch hit single in extra innings at Boiling Springs on Monday, this game would have its work cut out to match that one in intensity. In fact, early on, it looked like it would go the complete opposite of the opener.
Dorman started Sophomore Jackson Wyatt on the hill, who last time out, looked like a sophomore making his first varsity start. Last night, things started looking grim early for him.
Luke Compton and Hudson Wilson led off the game with back to back singles followed by a Corben Childers walk to load the bases with nobody out. Jackson Reel bailed Wyatt out of a potential big inning right out of the gate, grounding into a 6-4-3 double play that scored the game’s first run as Compton trotted straight outta third base. Dorman’s lone fielding error came on the next play when Jackson Cole (there were a lot of Jacksons in this game..) lined to center field. Chas Welch, the Dorman center fielder came in and had the ball pop out of his glove on what should have been a routine play. It rolled away from him back towards the infield, allowing Cole to take 2 bases and Hudson Wilson to score unearned.
Wyatt got Luke Steohens to ground out to 2nd to retire the side, and that ultimately served as his settling in. He not only limited the damage to just 2 runs, but thanks to a lot of good defense behind him, was able to shut the Bulldogs down for the remainder of his outing.
Dorman managed to answer with 1 run in the bottom of the 2nd off Boiling Springs starter Chansen Cole. Palmer Hornick singled with 1 out and advanced when Mitch Wilson got hit by a pitch. On a ball in the dirt, he took 3rd to set up an RBI single from Grayson Morton. Cole rebounded with a flyout and a K to end the inning, and that 2-1 score would end up holding steady for the next 3 innings.
The Bulldogs threatened in the 2nd and 6th innings, and had at least 1 runner reach in all but the 3rd inning. But the pitching and defense combination helped the Cavaliers hold them at bay. They got out of trouble with 2 huge double plays – both turned by 2nd baseman Palmer Hornick.
One was on a ground ball up the middle that he had to come get behind the bag at 2nd off the bat of Titus Hutchins. In a swift motion, Hornick fielded it and quickly stepped on 2nd to force out Justin Dawkins, who led off with a single, and then fired to 1st across his body to complete the twin killing.
The other came on a screaming liner right to him from Luke Stephens that he snagged and then made a long but perfect dart of a throw across the diamond to 3rd to gun out Jackson Reel’s courtesy runner Andrew Coley who had gotten caught between 3rd and home.
Offensively, Dorman struck to tie the game in the bottom of the 5th off of Chansen Cole. After getting 2 quick outs, Mitch Wilson reached base for the 3rd time on the night via a fielding error on Bulldog shortstop Titus Hutchins. Grayson Morton followed that up with the only extra base hit recorded by either team in the game – an RBI double off the fence in right center that scored Wilson unearned.
In the bottom of the 6th, the Cavs took the lead on another timely hit, this time off Bulldog reliever Aaron Sewell. Chas Welch drew a walk to lead off the frame on 4 pitches. Brycen Plexico laid down a perfect sac bunt to move him into scoring position. After a big K of Colton Earnhardt, Clay Crossley took an 0-1 pitch into right center field for a base hit to plate the go ahead run. That would be all they’d muster, taking a 3-2 lead to the 7th.
Now for the biggest defensive play of the game and the big mistake, which happened as a result of each other to end the game.
Rylee Douglas singled off Dorman’s 3rd arm of the game, Coleman Brown, with 1 out to represent the tying run. Luke Compton came up and jumped on the first pitch he saw, lacing a high and hard liner to center. There really is not much of a better way to sum up the base running blunder that ensued other than to say that Douglas was caught with his pants down. He was halfway to 3rd when the liner was plucked out of the air, and was easily doubled up at 1st to end the game, evening the series at a game a piece by securing the 3-2 W for the Cavaliers.
Aaron Sturgill picked up the win in relief for the Cavs with just a hit allowed and 1 strikeout in a third of an inning. Coleman Brown got the save with the same line, except with a complete inning logged. Dorman starter Jackson Wyatt surrendered 7 singles, 2 runs (1 earned), with a walk and a K in 5 and ⅔ innings of work.
The loss went to Aaron Sewell, who allowed the go ahead run on a hit and a walk with a strikeout over 1 full inning of work. Chansen Cole went 5 frames with 5 hits, 2 runs (just 1 earned), a walk, and 7 strikeouts.
At the plate, Dorman was led by Grayson Morton, going 2 for 3 with a pair of RBIs. Clay Crossley logged their lone other on a 1-4 effort at the dish. Mitch Powell and Colton Earnhardt both went 1-3 and Palmer Hornick was 1 for 4 with a run scored. Mitch Wilson and Chas Welch went a combined 0-5, Welch tallying a walk and a run scored, and Wilson with a pair of HBPs and a run scored.
Boiling Springs had nobody logged an RBI as their runs came on an error and on a double play. They also left 6 men on the basepaths in the game. But, Rylee Dougkas was 2 for 3 and Luke Compton was 2 for 4 with a run scored. Hudson Wilson went 1-3 with a run scored. Corben Childers was 0-2 with a walk.
What do you typically get when you have used your best arms and have back to back 1 run games to start the series? An offensive outpouring.
It has already happened once for Boiling Springs. In the finale of the Steve Sanders Tournament, the Bulldogs had already used Jackson and Chansen Cole. They were forced to give Jackson Cole a spot start against Blue Ridge in the championship game, and he went just 2 innings. The rest of the way, it was a bullpen game. Boiling Springs has a lot of young arms available, but they are just that – young arms. So, they have depth but not necessarily accuracy. They are good for eating innings, but in a close game, it is a lot to lean on them to shut opponents down.
Dorman is in a similar boat with a roster full of guys that are battling for playing time, while they are figuring out their lineup and a handful of decent arms.
In short, this game had huge implications for the region standings, and with all the pitching depleted, it was sure to be a high scoring battle with both squads fighting their hardest because they knew that the winner of this series has a major leg up in the region standings.
In similar fashion to game 2 on Wednesday night at Dorman, this one started off promisingly for the Bulldogs.
Dorman “opened” with the same pitcher that earned the save Wednesday night — Coleman Brown. He made it just 2 thirds of an inning. Boiling Springs, with a shuffled lineup, got a 1 out walk from Landon Stevens. With 2 out, Luke Compton singled to score Stevens. Jackson Cole kept the line moving with a double to left that was cut off, making Compton have to hold at 3rd. Then came the big blow of the inning – a 2 run single from Bulldog Catcher Hudson Wilson, which led to the Bulldogs carrying the early 3-0 advantage to the 2nd inning.
That lead was short-lived. Dorman jumped on Boiling Springs starter Corben Childers, with 5 of the first 6 hitters he faced all picking up a hit. Brycen Plexico and Coleman Brown collected an RBI each, and the Cavaliers tied it at 3.
Aaron Sturgill, who came in to relieve Brown in the 1st inning, worked the only 3 up 3 down frames for Dorman in the bottom of the 3rd and 4th. On the flip side, in the top of the 3rd, after a couple of quick outs, Dorman worked the bases loaded on a single and back to back walks off Childers, but ended up leaving ducks on the pond as Chas Welch popped up to center.
The Cavaliers took their first lead of the game in the top of the 5th when Aaron Sewell, who pitched the bottom of the 6th in game 2 and took the loss, didn’t improve his fortunes against the Cavaliers. He gave up back to back solo home runs to Grayson Morton and Palmer Hornick. Those were the only 2 runs the scored in the stanza, but it gave them a 5-3 lead to work with.
Boiling Springs’ turn to get some punches in.
In the bottom of the 5th, Justin Dawkins drew a leadoff walk. With 1 out, Luke Compton walked and Jackson Cole singled to load the bases. Hudson Wilson popped up to 2nd and despite the 2B dropping it, was out via the infield fly rule. At this point, a familiar tune was probably playing in the heads of Boiling Springs fans. The Bulldogs’ biggest problem, not just in this game, or even this series, has been leaving runners on when they have a chance to break the game open. For a team that does not necessarily have the pitching to pick up the slack when the offense is off, that is not ideal.
They did come through. For a run.. And not via a hit. Jackson Reel drew a bases-loaded walk on a full count to pull back within a run. But, that was all they could muster after a K left the sacks full.
Dorman struck back and got the run back plus 1 in the top of the 6th after 3 2 out singles and a walk. The 2 runs they scored were aided by back to back wild pitches from Jackson Reel, who pitched the 5th and 6th as the 3rd arm of the game for BSHS. Reel rebounded with a 6-3 grounder to leave 2 Cavaliers stranded, but Dorman held the upper hand 7-5 through 5 and a half innings.
The Bulldogs once again fought back quickly, with 4 consecutive base hits to start the bottom of the frame, knotting things up once again at 7. It could have been much worse, but another storyline from his series that really impacted how it went for Boiling Springs reared its head yet again.
In game 2, Dorman turned 4 huge double plays that ultimately were the difference in the game. Many of those double plays were not turned in the conventional way. Take the last 2 that were turned in game two for example. Landon Stevens lined to 2nd with a big run on 3rd in Courtesy Runner Andrew Coley. Coley wandered too far off 3rd and Palmer Hornick made an incredible long throw across the diamond to get Coley 4-5. Then there was the game-ending DP where Luke Compton lined to the CF in left center with the tying run on 1st. In what BSHS Coach Jef Lipscomb called a “hard hit n run”, Rylee Douglas was halfway to 3rd when the ball was caught, making for an easy out at 1st for an unconventional 8-3 double play.
Of the oddball double plays the Cavs turned in the finale, the first was on a liner from Luke Compton back to the mound back in the bottom of the 2nd. Landon Stevens walked and worked his way around to 3rd after back to back walks. On Compton’s line drive, he was caught in a mess as he broke towards the plate and Justin Dawkins broke towards 3rd. With no other choice, Stevens kept going for home and was gunned out 1-2.
The other was a 3 unassisted in the bottom of the 6th on a line drive that was caught on a dive by Dorman 1st baseman Grayson Morton who in a quick motion as he was going to the ground tagged the base to double off Corben Childers. That set the stage for the Bulldogs to leave another runner in scoring position when after an intentional walk to Jackson Cole and a passed ball, Hudson Wilson grounded out to short to end the inning.
Jackson Reel returned to the hill in the final inning in a 7-7 tie, hoping for a shutdown frame that would give his team a shot at a 2nd walk off victory in the series. That ideal situation quickly evaporated as he surrendered a leadoff double to left and a single to his first 2 batters. That prompted him being pulled and Mason Shuford taking over. Dorman shortstop Colton Earnhardt singled to plate 2 and took 2nd on the throw. Earhardt came home unearned on an error on the Boiling Springs 3rd baseman. The 3 runs were all the damage done, but it left the Bulldogs in a 3 run hole with just 3 outs to play with.
Palmer Hornick surrendered a 2 out single to Rylee Douglas, but as the story of the series goes, he was left there when Landon Stevens struck out looking to end the game and secure the big series W for Dorman 10-7.
Palmer Hornick, the incredibly talented freshman, led Dorman both at the plate and on the mound. Batting, he was a perfect 4 for 4 with 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored. On the mound, he got the win, pitching 2 and a third with 2 earned runs on 5 hits with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts.
Aaron Sturgill and Campbell Whitener each gave up an earned run in a combined 4 innings of work for the Cavs.
Dorman also got significant contributions at the dish from Grayson Morton, who went 2-4 with 2 RBIs and a run scored. Colton Earnhardt logged 2 ribbys as well on a 1 for 4 effort with a run scored. Coleman Brown and Brycen Plexico also tallied an RBI each.
Boiling Springs was led on offense by Hudson Wilson and Corben Childers. Both had 2 runs batted on a combined 2 for 8. Despite having no RBIs, Rylee Douglas had the best night, going 3 of 4 with 2 runs scored. Justin Dawkins was 1 for 1 officially with an RBI, but drew 3 walks in his other plate appearances and scored 2 runs. Jackson Reel and Luke Compton each managed an RBI on a combined 2 for 6 with 2 walks and a run scored.
Jackson Reel took the loss, surrendering 5 runs (4 earned) in 2 complete innings of work.
Boiling Springs has another big week ahead as they will play a 3 game set with the Byrnes Rebels starting Monday night in Duncan at 6:30. They will return home Wednesday night and conclude the series on Friday at Byrnes.
Dorman will go back to non-region play for a 2 game set with the AC Flora Falcons starting on the road Tuesday night. Thursday, they’ll be the designated home team for the finale with the Falcons at Fluor Field.