FARMINGTON — The Dallas Tigers had everything going in the opening game of the Connie Mack World Series.
In Game 2 of the tournament, the Tigers teed off on the Dallas-based D-BAT Elite 18U, building a 15-0 lead through four innings before picking up a 15-3 victory today at Ricketts Park.
Tigers’ coach Kyle Woods said his team’s ability to play small ball after getting their lead-off batters on base was key to opening up the offense and taking pressure off the young team, which consists primarily of 17-year-olds.
"A lot of these guys haven’t played in this kind of atmosphere before, so scoring some runs early really took the pressure off of them and helped them relax," Woods said. "I think it allowed us to settle in and swing freely."
After back-to-back singles and a sacrifice bunt at top of the first inning, Jaxx Groshans singled to right field to score both runners. Then, in the next at-bat, Ray Gaither doubled to the wall in center to drive in Groshans, making it 3-0.
The Tigers kept rolling in the second with a lead-off single from Dylan Ditzenberger, who came around to score on the next at-bat when Zach Deloach doubled to right field. After a Braydon Webb single put runners on the corners, Ryan Vilade came through with an RBI single to push the Tigers’ lead to 5-0.
Dallas added two more runs before the inning ended with Gaither knocking a two-RBI double to make it 7-0.
"We have a lot of confidence at the plate and know we can hit, and we’re not going to press ourselves," Gaither said. "We just have to do our thing, and everyone came out swinging the bat well for us tonight."
While the Tigers offense pounded pitch after pitch, their starter, Eli Davis, dominated the D-BAT lineup in his three innings of work. During his short time on the mound, Davis didn’t give up a hit, and the only baserunner D-BAT produced came on an error.
"He pounded the strike zone early. He got ahead of hitters and was able to use his off-speed stuff late to get guys out in front with weak contact," Woods said of Davis. "And our defense behind him was good. We got him some good, quick innings and were able to save him for later (in the tournament)."
The Tigers’ bats could not be cooled in the third. In the inning, Dallas sent 10 batters to the plate, scoring five runs on four hits — all singles — while drawing two walks and one hit batter.
Dallas opened the fourth inning just like the first three innings, getting its lead-off batter on base before piling on a few more runs to make it 15-0.
D-BAT finally got offensive production in the fifth, scoring three runs as pinch hitter Brady Lindsly came through with a two-RBI triple.
"I think any time you can get some runs it’s important," D-BAT coach Ryan Bonesio said. "And that was against a good pitcher. We know him really well, and he’s a good pitcher. Any time you can string something together before the game ends, it helps the bats relax."
Gaither finished the day 3 for 3 with a walk and five RBIs. Deloach added three RBIs for the Tigers, while Webb, Groshans and Canaan Smith drove in two runs each.
The Tigers will face Dallas's D-BAT Elite 17U at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Ricketts Park.
D-BAT will play the Colton Nighthawks out of Colton, Calif., at noon on Sunday.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.
Leading hitters: Ray Gaither, 1B, 2 2B, BB, 5 RBIs.
WP: Eli Davis
D-BAT Elite 18U
Leading hitters: Brady Lindsly, 3B, 2 RBIs.
LP: Jacob Palisch.