(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
DEXTER -- What was once considered to be an area of concern prior to the season has continued to be a bright spot for the Dexter Bearcats.
Getting six quality innings from starter Jordan Miller before Logan Nothern came in to close, the Bearcats got out of some tense situations late in the game Thursday to hold on for a 4-3 win over the Perryville Pirates.
"That's three quality starts from our pitching staff in the last three games," Dexter coach Brian Becker said. "That's pleasing for me to see because at the beginning of the season I thought pitching would be one of the weakest aspects of our team.
"But they're starting to round in to shape here the closer we get to the post season."
Holding onto a three-run lead heading into the top of the sixth, the Bearcats nearly saw Perryville come back to even things as the Pirates rallied for two runs before putting the tying run on first with one out.
Scoring Perryville's first run, Tyler Blessing brought home Jared Hotop from third with a single to left before Ross Moldenhauer's sacrifice fly to deep left scored Cale Regelsperger from third to close the gap to one.
With the tying run on first, however, the Bearcats were able to swing momentum back their way when Dexter catcher DJ Dowdy caught the Pirate's Tyler Blessing trying to steal second for the second out of the inning.
"DJ Dowdy, who is a freshman, has done an outstanding job since we made that switch (to putting him behind the plate)," said Becker. "Owen Flowers was playing second today. Owen was in front of the base and I think the kid slid into his foot instead of the bag and Owen put the tag on him."
Getting his team out of the jam, Miller was able to get Perryville's Alex Green to ground out to short to end the inning.
Looking to lock down the final three outs in the Bearcats' win, Northern came in to start the seventh quickly induced a pop up before striking out Perryville's cleanup hitter. After walking Dustin Thompson to put the tying run on first, Northern got Perryville's designated hitter to ground out to the first baseman to pick up the save.
"He came in and did the job for us. I think he kind of likes that role he's in right now," Becker said. "He goes out there and throws strikes which is what you need in the late innings."
Going six full innings Miller picks up the win, allowing three runs on seven hits and four walks while striking out eight.
"It felt good to come out and get my first start," Miller said. "I actually just got my curveball going yesterday and then got to start today. I think it worked out pretty good for me."
On offense, Dexter collecting a combined seven hits on the game with leadoff hitter Chase Young leading way, going 2 for 3 with a double and a run batted in.
The Bearcats did all their damage in the first and fifth innings, scoring a pair of runs in each.
Up 2-1 entering the bottom of the fifth Dexter opened up the frame with back to back hits by Daniel Fitts and Flowers, who each would come around to score.
Fitts scored when Young doubles to right while Dowdy came in for the game winning run on an grounder to right by Alex Cliff with the bases loaded.
"There in the fifth we kind of jump started our bats again and pushed a couple runs across and ended up being the difference in the game," said Becker.
Young and Bryn Hester two scored the Bearcats other two runs, both in the first, after starting the game off with back to back singles. Hester brought Young home from second with his drive up the middle before crossing the plate home himself on a Josh Sifford line drive to right.
For Perryville, who also combined for seven hits, Hotop had a game high two hits.
Pitching a complete game, Colby Brown took the loss giving up all four runs on seven hits and fours walks while striking out three. Brown also induced a pair of 6-4-3 double plays on the night.
"He did well," Pirates' coach Don O'Keefe said. "I thought our team defensively, even though I saw some of the small lapses, played well behind him.
"He really buckled down and gave us everything he could. It wasn't like he wasn't fighting. He did a wonderful job."
Dexter improves to 7-5 on the year while the Pirates drop to 9-4.
Perryville 001 002 0 - 3
Dexter 200 020 x - 4
WP -- Jordan Miller. LP -- Colby Brown. SV -- Logan Northern. 2B -- (D) Chase Young.