Tigers' No. 1-5 hitters pick up eight of the team's 10 hits
FARMINGTON — The Dallas Tigers jumped all over starting pitcher Kaden Krowka and D-BAT Elite 17U tonight with six runs in the first two innings, paving the way for an 8-5 win in Game 12 of the Connie Mack World Series at Ricketts Park.
In a game that was delayed nearly two hours by lightning, each team amassed 10 hits. But the base knocks by the Tigers (2-0) were timelier.
Zach DeLoach did what a good lead-off hitter is supposed to do, reaching base in each of his four at-bats. He and Brayden Webb scored the team's first two runs in the opening inning when Canaan Smith and Ray Gaither drove them in.
But that was nothing compared to the Tigers' second-inning rally, during which the team scored four runs, all with two outs. Smith, a lefty, highlighted the inning with a great piece of hitting when he sliced the ball down the left-field line on a 3-2 count to plate two base runners.
With 23 combined runs in their first two world series games, the Tigers hitters are in a groove to start the tournament. Coach Kyle Woods has noticed as much.
"They're seeing it well right now, and you know how baseball is, it isn't always like that," Woods said. "The timely two-out hitting is making life easier on my pitching staff."
JJ Montenegro took the bump for the Tigers and "didn't have his best stuff," according to Woods. An unearned run due to a throwing error and a miscommunication in the field that allowed another run to score inflated Montenegro's numbers on the night. But he was mostly effective with six strikeouts over five innings.
On the other end, Krowka was chased from the game during Dallas' big four-run second inning. Coach Ryan Robertson said his pitching staff as a whole gave a dangerous Tigers lineup too many good hitter's counts.
"We didn't throw strike one, and when you fall behind good hitters, you make really good hitters great hitters," Robertson said. "We gotta get in the strike zone as a pitching staff earlier — earlier and more often."
But Robertson's D-BAT 17U club (1-1) didn't call it a night despite an early 6-0 deficit. A towering RBI triple by Heston Kjerstad fueled a three-run top of the third inning for D-BAT and helped cut the Tigers' lead in half. D-BAT, also based out of has made a habit of coming back from the dead early on in this tourney, having already used a three-run, seventh-inning rally to down the Colton Nighthawks in Game 1.
Robertson said it's no coincidence his team has fought back twice in two games.
"That's been our (modus operandi) all year long is we don't give up," Robertson said. "If you look at the line, they had 10 hits, we had 10 hits, I think they just made their 10 count a little more than we did."
Down 8-5 at the start of the seventh, D-BAT fought to the point where they loaded the bases and could have tied the game or taken the lead, which spurred a Tigers pitching change.
"It seemed like he started getting behind in the count and leaving everything up," Woods said of relief pitcher William Adair. "He loaded the bases and (D-BAT) had a chance to tie the game with one swing of the bat, so I just felt like it was time to bring in a new arm and give them a different look."
Justin Slaten relieved Adair and came out throwing 93 mile-per-hour heat. He struck out Braxton Fulford with the bases full to end the contest.
Next up for the Tigers is a Game 16 meeting with either Strike Zone or EnFuego Elite at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Ricketts Park. D-BAT will have to maneuver its way through the loser's bracket with a 5:15 p.m. meeting against the Connecticut Bombers on the same day.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.
Leading hitters: Zach DeLoach, 3 for 4, RBI, 3 R, SB, BB, Canaan Smith, 2 for 2, 3 RBIs, 1 R, BB
WP: JJ Montenegro
SV: Justin Slaten
D-BAT Elite 17U
Leading hitters: Noah Sifrit, 3 for 4, 3 R, SB. Jimmy Glowenke, 3 for 3, 2 RBIs, BB
LP: Kaden Krowka