DICKINSON — Standing 5 foot, 3 inches, Dickinson pitcher Jesus Buendia is rarely the tallest guy on the baseball diamond. But after leading the Gators to their first district win since before he was even in high school, Buendia is definitely the big man on campus.
The Gators opened 24-5A play Tuesday afternoon with a 3-0 shutout win over Clear Falls.
“Jesus isn’t going to overpower you,” Dickinson coach Chris Cauley said. “But he will throw a lot of off-speed stuff and get ahead of hitters.”
And Buendia threw strikes early. He tossed first-pitch strikes on 29 batters.
Buendia had only two strikeouts in the game, but most of his pitches were strikes — 59 of 89 total — that led to easy fielding outs — nine groundouts and 10 fly outs.
Cauley said the pitching and defensive play of his team were the keys to Tuesday’s win — the first district victory for Dickinson in four seasons.
“I’m not shocked you won,” Cauley told his players after the game. “There’s no pressure. No one expected you to be this tough. There’s still no pressure. We’re just going after win No. 2 and then win No. 3.
“It feels good to win, though. Doesn’t it?”
There might be no pressure for the Gators, but Cauley thinks others will feel pressure when playing Dickinson.
“We haven’t won a game (in district) in four years, so losing to us, (other teams) don’t want that to happen,” he said. “That puts a lot of pressure on other teams. They don’t want to have on their record that they lost to us.”
Clear Falls outhit the Gators 6-4, but Dickinson’s hits were “timely,” Cauley said.
Travis Spruiell had one of those four hits for Dickinson. He also drew a walk and scored twice. His first trip across the plate came in the first inning when he scored on a wild pitch.
Joey Silvas also had a single that drove in Spruiell in the third inning.
The Gators’ third run came in the fourth when Jordan Meyers scored on a sacrifice fly.
Joel White and pinch-hitter Callum Gallo had the Gators’ other hits in the victory.
Collin Fries, who gave up only four hits and struck out four, was saddled with the loss for Clear Falls.
Mike Gaudet went 2-for-4 at the plate for the Knights, while Josh Elvir and Adam Prentice each went 1-for-3.
Pinch hitters Chandler Harris and Chase Lowman each had hits for Clear Falls.
Dickinson (7-5-3, 1-0) next plays at Clear Creek on Saturday, and Clear Falls (5-11-1, 0-1) hosts Clear Creek on Thursday.