Despite recording just one base hit in the game, the Dickinson Gators took advantage of a sloppy bottom of the first inning from Alvin and held on for a nail-biter of a 4-3 home win Tuesday.
“Our guys are going to have to realize that people aren’t going to roll over for them,” Dickinson head coach Bo Davis said. “We didn’t make adjustments like we normally do.
“A wake-up call? Definitely,” he added.
Shortstop Landon Roque led off the bottom of the first with a high chopper and legged out an infield single. Roque then stole second base and reached third on a groundout to get the Gators in business.
First baseman Daniel Bell reached base on a fielder’s choice as Alvin’s defense held up Roque at third base to put runners on the corners. A passed ball gave Dickinson a 1-0 lead and allowed Bell to race all the way to third, as he was already taking off for second base for a steal.
After center fielder Nate Ingram worked a walk and stole second base, another passed ball scored Bell to push the Gators’ lead to 2-0. With two outs, second baseman Miguel Ortiz walked, stole second and advanced to third on an error — with that same error scoring Ingram to put the Gators up, 3-0. Ortiz then scampered home on a wild pitch.
After catcher Lino Ortiz was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the second, Yellowjackets pitcher Carson Keithley retired the final 15 Dickinson batters in order, keeping his team in the game.
Meanwhile, Alvin got its leadoff batter on base in the first four innings, but it wasn’t until the top of the fourth, helped by a couple Dickinson defensive hiccups, that the Yellowjackets were able to take advantage. Overall, Alvin had at least one batter reach base in every inning except for the sixth inning.
“Sometimes you don’t deserve one and you still find yourself with a win, and we didn’t deserve it tonight,” Davis said. “They were ready to play, and we fell asleep after the first inning.”
Alvin third baseman Jeffrey Myers led off the top of the fourth with a walk, and the Gators missed a chance to turn a 1-6-3 double play after bobbling the ball on the turn to first, only retiring the lead runner. Following a fly out and a walk, a two-base error cut the lead to 4-1. Roque made a nice diving stab on an Alvin grounder, but couldn’t get the throw to third base in time to end the inning before the Yellowjackets’ second run scored.
In the top of the seventh, Dickinson pitcher Connor Greer came on for the save, but after surrendering a one-out single to Keithley, struggled to find what was a tight strike zone all night.
Shortstop Erick Vasquez was hit by a pitch on a 3-1 count, and second baseman Austin Hinson walked on four pitches to load the bases. In a nine-pitch at-bat, Myers forced Alvin’s third run home on a full-count bases-loaded walk.
With the bases still loaded with one out, Davis turned to Jacob Butler to salvage the game, and on a 2-2 count, he induced a game-ending 6-4-3 double play for the save.
“You’ve got to tip your cap to Jacob Butler for coming in there and doing what he did,” Davis said. “That was a very tough situation for a guy who probably hasn’t pitched since tournament season.”
Garibay picked up the win on the mound for Dickinson, throwing six innings with four hits, two runs (zero earned), four walks and six strikeouts.
Keithley picked up the tough-luck loss for Alvin as he finished with a final pitching line of six innings, one hit, four runs (two earned), two walks and nine strikeouts.
The Gators (9-2 in District 24-6A) close out their regular season 6 p.m. Friday at Alvin (4-7).