The Independence Eagles baseball team (24-11) powered its way to victory with an offensive outburst and impressive pitching to win the Region 6-AAA title, 10-2, at home on Wednesday night against Ravenwood (23-9).
“It feels really good,” said Independence starting pitcher Dalton Dickerson. “I just went out there and threw strikes and let my defense work.”
“Everyone is playing their best baseball right now,” said second baseman Ty Allen. “Pitchers are throwing strikes, and the defense is making plays.”
“Ravenwood is a heck of a team,” said Coach Mike McLaury. “Dalton Dickerson pitched his butt off, and we put some really good at-bats tonight.”
“Luckily it is not an elimination game,” said Ravenwood head coach Danny Borne. “We did not execute enough in a lot of situations. We are one game away from the state tournament, so we have got to play our best game on Friday.”
In the top of the first inning, Independence starter Dalton Dickerson stranded runners on first and second, drawing a fly out and recording two strikeouts to keep Ravenwood off the board 0-0.
Ravenwood starter Alex Sterling retired the side in order with two groundouts and a strikeout, as the game remained scoreless in the bottom of the first.
Dickerson continued to keep the Ravenwood offense at bay recording a strikeout, a ground out to the shortstop, and a fly out to center to remain tied at 0 in the top of the second.
Independence tallied first on the scoreboard with a 2-run RBI single by second baseman Ty Allen to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second.
“He has been really hot at the plate,” said Dickerson. “Hope he stays that way and keeps putting balls in play.”
“I am just doing what my coach tells me to do to hit the middle of the ball,” said Allen. “Drew Blalock and all of my other teammates just having good at-bats and doing what benefits the team the most.”
“I am so happy for Ty,” said Coach McLaury. “He has not had the year he wanted to, but he is swinging the bat a lot better. Tonight he had four really good at-bats for us.”
Dickerson continued in his groove in the top of the third, recording a strikeout and forcing a groundout and fly out to hold the advantage 2-0.
Independence’s offense put on a showcase in the bottom of the third, producing five runs off of three singles, a double and a sac fly to stretch their lead to 7-0.
In the top of the fourth, first baseman Ryan Augustini got the Raptors on the board with an RBI double to cut into the Independence margin, 7-1.
The Eagles answered the score with a bases loaded RBI on a fielder’s choice by left fielder Creed McClellan to increase the Independence lead 8-1 in the bottom of the fourth.
Dickerson continued to roll in the top of the fifth inning, erasing a single on a fielder’s choice, recording a strikeout and forcing a groundout to first base to keep the score at 8-1.
Ravenwood stalled the Independence offense in the bottom of the fifth with a fly out to left and a double play to stay at 8-1.
Dickerson capped off his impressive start in the top of the sixth inning with a pop out to the second baseman, a strikeout and drawing a fielder’s choice to wipe away a single, keeping the Eagles ahead 8-1.
In the bottom of the sixth, Independence collected two more RBIs on a groundout from catcher Grant Morgan and an RBI single from left fielder Creed McClellan to lengthen the Eagles lead to 10-1.
The Eagles closed the door in the top of the seventh and secured the win for Dickerson with Allen and Nolan Turner recording three outs.
“Everyone came out and did their job and kept their pitch count down,” said Dickerson.
“Every day they are getting their work in and doing everything to make their arms stronger,” said Allen. “They have trust in the defense behind them.”
“The biggest thing in the game we did not walk anybody,” said Coach McLaury. “Dalton was able to get his breaking ball over when he wanted to. That is one of the best hitting teams in the state. He was able to keep them off balance enough.”
Ravenwood tallied a run on an RBI sac fly from Austin Johnson late in the contest.
“They (Johnson and Augustini) are really good hitters,” said Coach Borne. “They have carried us at times.”
Independence won the game 10-2 to claim the region title.
Ravenwood will travel to Beech High School on Friday for the sectional round.
Independence will host Clarksville on Friday night for sectionals.
“They got some big time arms that will play Division 1 or get drafted,” said Coach McLaury. “We have got to be ready to go and match them."