It’s no secret that the Waldron Bulldogs have had a rough start to their baseball season. But as everyone knows, it’s not how you start the race that matters, it’s how you finish. The Bulldogs started last week with a match against Charleston on Tuesday, March 16. Although the game didn’t go in the Bulldog’s favor ending with a final score of 6-1 Tigers, Waldron still gave a good showing. Blake Owens was the starting pitcher playing in three innings. Owens only gave up five runs and struck out five players while picking off one runner.
Matt Brigance and Caden Fuller hit the mound where they pitched for a combined three innings. Brigance earned one strikeout and gave up one run while Fuller also secured a strikeout. “Hitting for the Bulldogs was scarce,” explained head coach, Mark Brigance. “We only had 4 strikeouts but failed to get hits to score runs. Almost every kid in the line-up hit a hardball somewhere but unfortunately, most were right at someone. The positive side is defense didn’t commit an error, which is a great sign of the work the kids have put in.”
On Thursday, the Bulldogs turned around and gave Pottsville a run for their money only allowing the Apaches to take home an 11-9 victory. For this match-up, the starting pitcher was Caden Fuller who ended the night with three strikeouts and three hits. “The hits came at the right time for Pottsville after a three-run home run from Carothers. Caden had trouble in the first inning but went three up and three down in the next two innings.” Payton Justice relieved Fuller for two innings scoring three strikeouts and only allowing three hits leading to four runs.
“Fuller and Justice were in basketball and have had limited work in the past couple of weeks. They continue to improve daily and will be fine pitchers for us.” And freshman, Noah Patrick, also got some mound time pitching two innings for the Bulldogs. Hitting was much more positive for the Bulldogs during this go-around. Carnley finished with one single, a stolen base, and a score. Matthew Brigance earned two walks, one hit by pitch, a stolen base, and a score.
Caden Fuller was 2 for 4 with two singles and two scores. Jesse Dees had one walk. Payton Justice was hit by the pitch and earned an RBI. And Jaden Hutchens reached on an error to centerfield that scored two runs, and also made a single and scored. Catching for Waldron was Braden Williams who got two walks, put the ball in play twice reaching on errors, and scored twice. “We had our chances to score more runners but failed in the first three innings or it might have been a different outcome. We are still struggling to plate runners when given the opportunity, however, for half of my lineup, this is their first week of games.”
The final game of the week was where all the magic happened. After being dealt two hard blows, the Diamond Dogs pulled together as a team and bagged an 8-2 conference win over the Hackett Hornets placing them with a 2-6 overall record and 1-1 in conference play. “We came out with a great mentality of meeting a goal of scoring one run per inning plus one. We got out eight runs and it was very sufficient.” Starting pitcher for the Bulldogs was Matthew Brigance with Logan Young doing the catching. Matthew pitched six scoreless innings with 10 K’s and allowed four hits.
“One of the highlights of the game was a baserunner for Hackett reached on an error with one out in the 2nd inning. We have struggled in this situation before. Brigance allowed back-to-back hits and with the bases loaded, struck out the next two batters on seven pitches. Blake Owens got the save in the seventh inning by striking out the first batter, walking the next, and striking out the final batter on a wild pitch. That led to them tacking on two runs but some great defense by Jaden Hutchens at second base and Braden Williams at third base ended the scoring.”
Hitting for the Diamond Dogs was Drake Carnley who concluded the match with a single, a stolen base, and a score. Matthew Brigance got hit twice and walked once with three stolen bases scoring three times. Caden Fuller went four for four with all four being singles, two stolen bases, and scored three times. Blake Owens made a single. Payton Justice landed a single and scored. Drew Owens secured a single, advanced a runner, and was hit by a pitch. Kaden Rogers went three for three with all three being singles while also earning an RBI and advanced the runners. And Braden Williams did not record a hit but moved runners at all four times to the plate.
The next Diamond Dogs game is a rain-suspended game on Monday, March 29 vs Cedarville at home. The game is currently at the bottom of the second with the Bulldogs up 5-0. They have a runner at 2nd base and Bladyn Mays will be up to bat with a 1-2 count and 2 outs. The game will resume in that position. There will be a JV game to follow.
Photo courtesy of Sandy Tull