EPHRATA — Moses Lake assistant River Dog coach Donnie Lindgren called out from the dugout, “Get dirty, have fun.”
It wasn’t like the River Dogs U16 needed permission to have some fun as the youngest club in the Senior Babe Ruth World Series, but they did settle into a run-scoring groove in Sunday’s 7-4 victory over Pro Hammer from Tuscon, Ariz.
Yep, the Little Dogs got one to move to 1-1 in the standings after an opening-game loss to Mid-County from Nederland, Texas on Saturday in a game they led into the seventh inning.
“Losing to Texas just made us all that much more hungrier,” River Dogs second baseman Emmitt Tatum said. “We were scared and nervous at first, but not any more. We’re family and will figure out a way to win from here on out.”
Moses Lake River Dogs 7, Tuscon 4
Where River Dogs left ’em in scoring position in the opener, they broke out in the fourth inning with four runs on two hits. Dalton Kentner drove in two runs with a single to open things up. Tatum and Cody Alvarado also had an RBI apiece in the inning for the River Dogs, who climbed back in it after trailing 3-0 at one point.
“I was just waiting for a good pitch to hit and he gave me one,” said Kentner who was 2-for-3 with two RBIs. “This was about redemption. We started getting the bats going and it was a lot of fun. I think we’re going 3-1 through pool play. We can play with anyone here.”
Caleb Juarez went 2-for-3, Tatum was 2-4 with an RBI. Josh Williams also drove in a run.
A.J. Pruneda had five strong innings in relief, throwing 66 pitches and scattering three hits.
“My first thought was to go hard and not stop when I got to the mound,” Pruneda said. “I had that mentality in my head and I just kept pushing forward.”
Mid-County (Texas) 4, Moses Lake River Dogs 2
The Moses Lake River Dogs finally flinched under the pressure of playing on the Senior Babe Ruth World Series stage, having had a chance to open the tournament with a huge upset over the Southwest regional champions from Nederland, Texas.
Moses Lake gave up three unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth and Mid-County from the Texas-Louisiana state line came back to win the first-day contest after trailing since the third inning.
Mid-County earned the Southwest regional title by eliminating the defending national champion Alabama Rawdogs. Starter Brandon Morse was the most valuable player on the Texas 5A state champions during the high school season. Morse had 10 strikeouts in 6 innings, scattering five hits and surrendering two runs.
River Dogs starter Evan McLean matched the Texas hurler pitch-for-pitch, surrendering three runs, and three hits in five innings of work.
Tatum singled to drive in Dax Lindgren in the top of the third. Jeff Sonneman scored on a throwing error and the Washington state champions erased a 1-0 deficit with two huge runs in an inning that could have been even bigger had it not been for an inning-ending double play on a line shot off the bat of Dominic Signorelli.
The River Dogs had a chance to force the issue in the fifth with runners on second and third with two outs. But Morse got Tatum on a groundout to end the inning.
The Southwest champions scored three runs on two hits in the bottom of the six, including a RBI single by Chase Kemp.