The Dunham School didn’t have to search very far to find a successful script in Thursday’s 10-2 District 7-2A baseball victory over Runnels at Raiders Park.
The Tigers flipped the script from a 5-2 loss to the Raiders on Tuesday, seizing control early with five first-inning runs and staff pitching ace Ryan May did the rest with a complete-game effort.
Two days earlier in the league opener for both teams, it was Runnels jumping out to a 4-1 lead through two innings, which proved more than enough support for LSU pitching signee Alden Cartwright.
“This is a season where it’s not about the one game,” Dunham coach Joey Thibodeaux said. “It’s running the marathon and putting yourself in a position at the end to win it all. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
Dunham (15-7, 1-1) sent nine batters to the plate in the first against Runnels starter Josh Morris, scoring five runs on four hits and also taking advantage of a pair of errors.
“It was great the way we started,” Thibodeaux said. “We’ve been preaching for weeks and that’s to get on top early. The more impressive thing was that we kept the pressure on and we did that early and often and left the rest up to May.”
Consecutive doubles from shortstop Ben McClelland (3-for-5) and third baseman Tyler Thompson (4-5, 2 RBIs) made it 3-0, and following Morris’ second walk of the inning, right fielder Patrick Ivey (2-4, 3 RBIs) lined a two-run double into the left-field corner.
“That was very uncharacteristic of this team,” said Runnels coach Tookie Johnson, whose team committed two first-inning errors and four in the game. “We made some errors early that gave them some extra chances, and they’re too good of a hitting team to give extra chances to.”
Runnels (10-8, 1-1) put together its best inning against May in the bottom of the second after two were out.
Shortstop Johnny Johnson delivered the third straight single for the Raiders, scoring Thomas Myers. Morris then doubled to the fence in right, but May got Cartwright to fly out to right to end the inning.
May (5-1) scattered four more hits the remainder of the game and pitched around two errors to keep Runnels scoreless. He allowed eight hits overall, walked one and struck out four in a 109-pitch outing that included 77 strikes.
“I thought he pitched really well,” Thibodeaux said. “He was up a little early but he was in control the whole time. I liked his demeanor today where he was allowing his teammates to help him out but when he needed to take control he did.”
Dunham, which had six of its 14 hits go for extra bases, added single runs in the third on a passed ball and in the fourth on Ivey’s run-scoring single to center for a 7-2 lead.
An errant pickoff attempt in the fifth contributed to the Tigers’ fourth unearned run of the game before Thompson cranked a 2-1 offering from reliever Riggs March for a home run to straight-away center.
“If you take away the first inning the game, (it) was an exact flip of Tuesday’s game,” Johnson said. “They did the same exact thing to us that we did to them. That’s the fun part about high school baseball. You never know.”
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