DEXTER -- You can't ask for a much more clutch performance than the one Dexter junior Daniel Fitts gave the Bearcats Thursday against Scott City.
On the same day he celebrated his 17th birthday, Fitts hit a game-winning three-run home run in the second inning only to throw out a runner at the plate in the fifth to save a crucial run in a 3-1 Bearcats win.
"That home run excited me, but I think that throw definitely excited me a little bit more," Fitts said. "It makes you feel good to throw a guy out at home from deep there in left."
After the Bearcats came up empty handed in their first trip to the plate, Fitts' shot came with one out in the second after Scott City's Hunter Cox had just walked two consecutive batters.
Making contact with a 2-2 offering, Fitts' drive traveled to left-center field where it easily cleared the wall to give Dexter an early 3-0 lead.
"(Cox) did a good job of shutting our offense down," Dexter coach Brian Becker said. "But he made a mistake to Daniel Fitts and he made him pay for it.
Three innings later, it was Fitts coming up big on the defensive end, teaming up with catcher D.J. Dowdy to squash a potential big rally by the Rams.
With Scott City having already scored one run in the frame, Jamie Scholz stepped up to the plate looking to do some damage with two outs and runners on first and second.
Sending a hard hit ball past a diving third baseman, Scholz seemed to have cut the Bearcats lead to one as Brett Dirnberger rounded third looking to score.
Fielding the ball cleanly in deep left, however, Fitts' throw met Dowdy on the inside of the plate just in time to catch Dirnberger as the two collided at home plate.
"D.J. Dowdy, this was his first time catching on the varsity level," said Becker. "I thought he did a really good job back there. He put the tag on him and that got us out of the inning. That's something we hadn't been doing."
The play at home was one several big defensive stops that helped Dexter hold off a Scott City offense that had put up eight runs on Oran the day prior.
Allowing base runners all seven innings, the Bearcats got one of their bigger breaks in the top of the third when, with one out, they caught Dirnberger stealing before before picking off Alex Eichhorn taking too big of a lead at first to end the inning.
"Pitching and defense," Becker said. "We had both today and we hadn't had that at a lot this spring. When you have those two things right there you can win a lot of ball games."
Giving the Bearcats' six solid innings, starter Brad Potts picked up the win. Potts held the Rams to one unearned run on three hits while walking eight and striking out six.
"I finally got to pitch good today," Potts said. "My curveball worked well today and the defense was good."
Facing one of his bigger challenges early on, Potts got the game off to rocky start as he walked three of the first four Rams he faced to load the bases with one out.
He was able to minimize the damage, however, by striking out the next batter before getting a pop up to the shortstop to end the inning.
"Getting out of that first inning was huge without allowing them to score a run," Becker said. "I thought that kind of gave us a little bit of momentum, not necessarily offensively, but defensively it kind of picked our ball club up."
Coming in to start the seventh, Jordan Miller picked up the save. Striking out the first batter he faced before inducing a ground out to the second baseman, Miller's only base runner came in the next at bat when a misplayed ball by Potts, who had moved to second, allowing Dirnberger to reach.
Quickly making up for his error, Potts cleanly fielded a drive from Scott City's cleanup hitter in the next at bat before throwing to first to end the game.
For the Rams, Hunter Cox took the loss for Scott City. Cox pitched a complete game, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out six.
"That's two great games in a row he's pitched," Scott City coach Lance Amick said of Cox. "It's one of the positives that came out of today. He's had two real good outings pitching the ball."
The loss drops the Rams to 2-5-1 on the season with Dexter improving to 4-3.
Scott City 000 010 0 - 1
Dexter 030 000 x - 3
WP -- Brad Potts. LP -- Hunter Cox. HR -- (D) Daniel Fitts.