It may seem early in the season for a must-win mentality, but after a second double-digit loss in the first five games that’s exactly how Roseburg Dr. Stewart’s was approaching Friday’s game against the Dallas Post 20 Dirtbags.
“Kind of a must-win from how we’ve been preparing them,” Docs coach Jeremiah Robbins said.
“I tip my hat to our guys. After (losing 15-4 to Eugene on Thursday), when you get slapped in the face that bad, sometimes you’ll be moping around and they weren’t today … they just went out and competed and that’s all we’re asking for.”
The Docs (4-2) overcame a 4-0 deficit in the second inning to come back for a 10-5 victory against the Dirtbags on the second day of action in the Tyree Oil Father’s Day Summer Kickoff Tournament at Bill Gray Stadium at Legion Field.
“It feels amazing,” said Dr. Stewart’s starting pitcher Payton Hope, who tossed six innings and picked up his second win of the year. “After a game like (Thursday’s), popping back and coming back from a deficit and getting a win comfortably is big.”
Dallas (2-1) took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, thanks to a pair of errors by the Docs. The Dirtbags added two more runs in the top of the second on a double by Derek Maiben, who finished 3-for-3 with three RBIs.
Dr. Stewart’s fought back to cut the deficit in half on a two-run homer by Doran Gillespie in the home half of the second. Gillespie’s bomb was the first round-tripper of the season for the Docs.
Dallas added a run in the third, but the Docs took the lead for good with four runs in the bottom of the same frame.
“We had a crooked number inning and that was good to see that again,” Robbins said. “Guys were competing and we were doing some other things on the bases that I thought were really good. If you do that, you put yourself in a place to win a lot of baseball games.”
Jacob Luther drove in the game-tying run with a two-out single in the fifth for his team-high ninth RBI of the season. Garrett Zeimet followed with his first hit of the season, a double that drove in the go-ahead run to put the Docs up 6-5.
“It always feels good to get the first one out of the way,” Zeimet said. “I was honestly not too surprised, I saw four pitches the at-bat before and I had him pretty well-timed. He just hung the fastball. Threw one right down the middle and I just knew that was my pitch to drive.”
Hope held the Dirtbags scoreless in the fourth through sixth innings as the Docs extended the lead. The right-hander from Sutherlin managed to strand a runner in scoring position in each frame.
He ended the game with three earned runs allowed on 11 hits. Hope struck out three and walked none.
“Just an incredible job on the mound,” Robbins said about Hope’s start. “He stuck with it the whole six innings that he threw. The defense was shaky at times. We still got to work on that piece, but that will come with time.”
One piece that the Docs hope is taking the next step in their early development is the mental side of the game, an area that coach Robbins continues to address with the players.
“It’s a big step for us,” Hope said. “We just got to keep grinding every day, get better and build off this.”
The Docs will face the Salem Withnell Dodgers at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the final game of day three of the tournament.
In other scores from Friday’s tournament action: the Dirtbags defeated Medford 2-1, Willamette Valley beat Salem 4-2 and Eugene conquered Corvallis 5-2.
Dallas 221 000 0 — 5 11 4
Docs 024 130 x — 10 7 4
Kessler, Bennett (3), Reidhead (5) and Mitsuyasu; Hope, Stoffal (7) and Six. WP — Hope (2-0). LP — Kessler. 2B — D. Maiben (Da), Zeimet (DS), Black (DS).