Dominic Rodts helped Millbrook’s Baseball team leave no doubt on Thursday night in a rematch of last year’s Cap-8 Conference Championship Game. Behind a 2-for-3 showing at the plate, the senior helped the Wildcats dispatch of rival Sanderson, 6-1.
“I’m really proud of how we started tonight.” said Rodts, “we needed to be more aggressive coming off of Tuesday night’s loss, and those opening innings were a correlation of a better overall mindset.”
Backing sophomore starter Brian Pearce, Millbrook was able to provide all of the offense that it needed in the game’s first two innings. After a leadoff single, and a pair of stolen bases, Tyler Snead broke the ice by scoring a first inning run on a Rodts RBI single to right.
Will Hood walked to start the Wildcat second, and Casey Carnevale moved him into scoring position on a one-out ground rule double that hopped over the left centerfield wall. Snead caught the Spartan defense napping with two down when he laid down a squeeze bunt single to score Hood, and give Millbrook a 2-0 lead through two.
On the bump, Pearce navigated through the opening two innings unscathed behind the help of five flyouts, and a runner that was caught stealing by Dennis Delgado. The third inning wasn’t as kind to the righthander as Dylan Bollinger pushed across Sanderson’s only run of the night on a base hit to right field that scored Harrison Bowles, a courtesy runner for the Spartan pitcher Kevin McSoley.
The game’s only 1-2-3 inning came from Pearce who twirled a two-strikeout fourth. After allowing a leadoff single in the fifth, Christian Miller came on in relief to extinguish any chance of a Sanderson rally by getting Robbie Houston to flyout, and Alim McNeill to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play.
A leadoff triple by Rodts helped Millbrook put the contest out of hand in its half of the fifth. Will Gamble slammed a one-out single the other way to score Rodts, and Delgado put runners on the corners a batter later on a line drive to right.
With Miguel Rios pinch running at third, and Matt Rouse pinch running at first, Hood tacked on the Wildcats’ fourth run following another run-scoring squeeze bunt single. Hood moved to second on a wild pitch by Sanderson’s Jordan Blalock, then scored on a RBI single to left by Carnevale that made it 5-1.
The Spartans’ third pitcher of the night, Houston, started the bottom of the sixth by hitting Rodts with a pitch. The Wildcat senior proceeded to steal second, advance to third on a groundout, and score on a wild pitch for a 6-1 advantage.
“I just wanted to hit the ball hard, and let my legs do the rest” joked Rodts whose triple was only the second of his career. Thursday’s two stolen bases were a career-high, raising his total to three over the course of the last two seasons.
Miller slammed the door on Sanderson for his first save of the season. The junior struck out four batsmen over the final two innings of his three inning performance. As a team, the Wildcats are now pitching to the tune of a 2.60 ERA with 82 strikeouts.
The Wildcats finish off the first half of Cap-8 Conference play with a 4-2 record, and it has a game in hand versus the rest of the conference because of its suspended contest against Enloe. Overall, the team moves to 7-5 on the season.