DAVIS — Off balance for five innings, Davis regained its footing and struck the decisive blow against Dickson starting pitcher Bret Jones.
The Wolves pounced for four runs in the sixth inning to seize the lead, and Davis starter Tyler Brubaker worked around an error to shut the door and secure the Wolves’ rally.
Davis rallied to defeat Dickson 8-5 on Tuesday afternoon at Davis Sports Complex and snap its four-game losing streak.
Jones helped himself as Dickson (5-17) landed the first punch three batters into the game. Jones hit a three-run home run to right field against Brubaker, who issued a lead-off walk to Justin Rutledge. Following that home run, Davis coach Chance Linville said Brubaker was locked in, but he cannot afford to wait until he faces the fourth hitter.
“That’s too late,” Linville said.
Brubaker’s counterpart, Jones, is a southpaw. Davis’ lineup, top to bottom, consists of right-handed hitters. The matchup makes a negligible difference at best, Linville said.
“I don’t put a lot of value in that,” he said. “We don’t see enough left-handers to have an advantage. Their kid threw well. It took us six innings to get to him. That’s pretty good.”
Jones held Davis to three runs in five innings thanks, in part, to his “Bugs Bunny Curveball,” as Dickson coach Trent Patterson called it.
“He keeps people off balance,” Patterson said of Jones. “His best pitch — it’s really weird — is his curveball. It comes in at about 45 miles an hour, and that makes that 75-mph fastball sneak up on you. Bret’s been able to locate really well most of the year. It’s all about location. Bret’s been able to do that.
“I’d call Bret our 1B (pitcher). Both of them have given us a chance to win almost every time they go out. He’s just a crafty lefty.”
Linville said his team (9-11) made adjustments in the sixth. Hunter Karlik hit an RBI single to tie the game, and Davis took the lead due to a throwing error by Dickson catcher Bryar Burns. Courtesy runner Blake Williams attempted to steal third, picked himself up and scored. J.T. Maynard hit a two-out, two-run home run to left-center field that extended Davis’ lead to 8-5. The blast provided insurance runs and ended Jones’ outing.
Rutledge came on in relief and recorded the final out.
“He threw well,” Linville said of Jones.
Despite self-induced mistakes, Patterson said he worked to send a positive message during the postgame huddle.
“We shot ourselves in the foot,” he said. “We gave that game away. I think six of the eight runs were unearned. It’s disappointing because it’s a game that we had that we felt we should’ve won and let it slip away. Credit to Davis: They battled back.
“I think we kind of got comfortable. We hit the home run in the first inning. We ended up scratching a couple more (runs across), got comfortable again and kind of got complacent. It’s a game we felt like we had. It’s a loss that stings, but some of our goals are still in front of us. We can dwell on this for a few minutes, but once we leave tonight, it’s over with.”
Davis scored its first tally in the bottom of the opening inning, as a run scored when Braden Ruth reached on a fielding error. Jones worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam to limit the damage. In the fourth, Dalton Ingram drove home the Wolves’ second run with an RBI groundout to second base.
Blanton Tucker and Maynard hit consecutive singles to lead off the fifth inning. Each runner advanced into scoring position on a fielding error in center field. Ruth delivered a sacrifice fly. Davis cut its deficit to 5-3.
“They know what they’re supposed to do,” he said about his team’s approach offensively. “They just weren’t doing it. They’ve got to make adjustments way quicker than the third inning. The third inning’s too late.”