Dr Pepper was hoping for a refreshing victory, but RRP was standing in the way Tuesday night in Centertown and made sure those hopes fizzled.
In the top of the first for Dr Pepper, Raiden Hutcheson and Regin Grissom drew walks. Libby Barks had an infield hit, and then Wyatt Brewer had a base knock to right field that scored two runs.
RRP responded in the bottom of the first. With a runner on, Baily Roach ripped a double to right field that scored one. Then Ethan Roach hit a two-run, inside-the-park home run to left-center field.
The next batter, Brian McAnulty, got a hit to right-center field. McAnulty tried to stretch the hit into a double, but he got hosed at second base for an out. McAnulty injured his leg on the play but stayed in the game like a trooper. RRP was up 3-2 after the first.
Ashley Dillon led off the second with an infield hit for Dr Pepper. Bishamon Bowhall kept things going with a hit to right field. Dylan Collett then got a hit to left field to score Dillon and knot the game at 3.
Dr Pepper kept scoring. After Hutcheson drew a walk, Grissom launched a blast to center field to get two more runs across home plate. Brady Baxter got a hit to center field to score another. Two batters later Brewer slapped a seeing-eye single between the shortstop and third baseman to score one more. Dr Pepper took a 7-3 lead into the bottom of the second.
But in the bottom of the second, RRP wasn’t about to be put on ice. RRP flexed some offensive muscle and scored 10 runs. Cain Bucker reached base on a walk and was brought home on a hit. The avalanche of runs began, with solid hitting and defensive drops being the causes. Ethan Roach had another home run, this one to left-center and scoring three runs. McAnulty and Jace Oliver both had a hit as well. The score was 13-7 after two.
The scrappy and poised Dr Pepper team would not go away, rallying for 6 runs in the top of the third. Ashley Dillon again set things in motion, this time with a walk. Bowhall smacked a hit to right field, and then Collett had an infield hit.
Then Page Sweeton found the sweet spot on the ball and sent it sailing over the leftfielder’s head, scoring two runs. Grissom had a sacrifice groundout to shortstop that scored another run. Subsequently, Baxter found some open green grass on a hit to left field, and two more runs scored. Barks then found some real estate in centerfield for a single, and she was brought around the bases after a hit by Brewer and an infield single by Dalton Hartl. The score was 13-13.
RRP answered with nine runs in the bottom of the third. Baily Roach led things off with a solo inside-the-park home run. He ended up batting a second time in the inning and getting another hit. Other hits in the inning were contributed by Ethan Roach (two), McAnulty, Oliver, and Buckner.
Dr Pepper got out of the inning when shortstop Sweeton gunned down RRP’s Ethan Roach with an expert throw to third baseman Grissom, who applied the tag.
Dr Pepper players were aided by encouragement from their coaches. They also benefitted from a mini-cheering section composed of Emma Dillon and her cousin McKeely Crouch, who lauded good plays, echoed coaches’ commentary, and gave plentiful shout-outs to high-performing players. “Encouragement is always needed. Woohoo!” Crouch shouted to the team after the game.
Dr Pepper coach Amanda Dillon liked the way her team showed improvement and was pleased with her team’s competitive performance against one of the better squads in the league, RRP. She also indicated her team recently played first-place Prater’s Realty and Auction to a close 13-10 decision after they lost to Prater’s 20-0 the first time around. “We had come from the bottom,” Dillon said.