|Dora forces game three behind junior pitcher
Eagle Sports Writer
Published April 28, 2006 11:58 PM CDT
FLORENCE -- To say Kyle Chance has endured a tough week is an understatement.
On Monday, the Dora junior tragically lost his uncle in an automobile accident.
A day later, for a couple of hours Chance concentrated on baseball and cranked
a home run against East Limestone.
Friday night, Chance topped it with a masterpiece on the mound as his four-hit
shutout helped Dora edge Central (Florence) 1-0 and earn a split in the best-of-three
Central won Friday's opening game 4-1 before Dora battled back. The rubber
match of the series is today at noon in Florence.
Chance didn't just frustrate Central's hitters. He also drove in the game's
only run and made an outstanding play off the mound to end the contest.
"It was a tough one. We just came through with big plays in the field," Chance
said. "It's probably one of the best nights I've ever had.
"When I hit the home run earlier this week -- that was for my uncle and
this game just tops it."
Dora (29-13) played errorless defense behind Chance as he struck out five
and walked only one Central hitter.
"Kyle stepped up when he had to," said Dora head coach Johnny Wright. "He's
stepped up all week and it's been a tough week for him. He's a super kid and
he's got a super family. That's why I'm at Dora, because these kids are so
much fun to be around."
Central starter Trey Mitchell was no slouch on the mound either in the nightcap.
Dora mustered six hits off Mitchell and they pushed across the game's lone
run in the first.
Justin Bussey led off with a double, Whit Wright followed with a bunt single
and Bussey scored on a fielder's choice hit into by Chance.
Taylor Williams added a single in the first and Bussey and Cam Thrasher accounted
for the other hits, but the Bulldogs didn't reach scoring position the rest
of the way.
It didn't matter.
Chance, a junior, faced the minimum in the first three innings after Bussey
turned a nice double play to end the second.
Drew Murphy led off Central's fifth inning with a single, but was left stranded
after Chance got DJ Holden to fly out to left and Michael Rhodes to strike
Chance's best work possibly occurred in the sixth. Drew Humphrey slapped a
one-out single and two pitches later stole second uncontested. Chance then
got Jordan West to ground out to Bussey and subsequently got Mitchell, Central's
third place hitter, to pop out to first.
The Wildcats mounted a threat in the final inning after Murphy punched a one-out
double, which got lost in the lights.
After inducing a groundout for the second out, Holden chopped one down the
third base line and Chance spun and threw a strike to Landon Hayes to end the
game as Holden slid into first on a bang-bang play.
"I honestly thought that guy was going to beat it out and was already
thinking about a first and third situation," Johnny Wright said. "What
a great play Kyle made to end it and Landon (Hayes) being 6-foot-5 helps out.
"In the first game we botched the plays we are supposed to make. In the
second game, we did what we are supposed to do."
In the opener, Dora's defense struggled in the fourth inning. The Bulldogs
had a slim 1-0 lead before Central tallied four unearned runs off Bussey.
The Wildcats (25-12) got the benefit of a walk, a hit batter and two errors
before Rhodes drove a Bussey' pitch to right field for a two-run single to
make it 4-1.
Whit Wright drove in Dora's lone run in the third inning after Bussey doubled.
Bussey (11-4) was charged with the tough loss. He surrendered only three hits
and walked two.
All of his runs were unearned because of the frustrating fourth inning.
Jordan West notched the victory for Central in the opener.
Hayes will get the nod for Dora today in the deciding game. The Bulldog senior
hasn't pitched in over a week, but Johnny Wright isn't too concerned.
"Landon has joked all year about getting more innings. Well, now he's
got some tomorrow that will never be more important," Wright said. "We
really feel comfortable pushing it to a third game. We really feel like the
pressure is on them now. They are supposed to win up here at their place and
we kind of handcuffed them for two games. We're relaxed and our kids are excited
about being in this position."
And after scoring only two runs in two games, the Bulldogs are confident the
bats will wake up.
"We scored two runs in two games and that's not good and we can't do
that," Chance added. "But we came away with a win to push it to tomorrow
and we know the hits will come."
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