The Dodge City Athletics opened up their 2013 campaign Monday night with the same excitement as they had the year before in a 9-2 victory over the Owasso (Okla.) Angels at Cavalier Field.
Former Dodge City High athlete Ty Thomas threw three innings and picked up the victory for the Athletics, who had only 18 of its 30-member roster at the game. Thomas was the second of four pitchers for the Athletics on the night with the Fort Hays State product giving up an unearned run, four hits and a walk while striking out three in the win.
Thomas pitched out of a jam in the third inning. After scoring a run on a double steal and having the bases loaded with only one out, the left-hander struck out one and induced a fielder's choice to keep the Angels from making any more damage.
The Athletics also had the bats against the Angels, outhitting the Oklahoma club 11-9. Kevin Hall, Dillon Englehart and Ben Gann each had two hits as seven of the nine starters had a hit in the win.
Owasso opened up the scoring in the top of the first when Allec Naifeh reached base after a dropped third strike to lead the inning and later scored on a RBI single by Eckersley Villasmil, who was tagged out trying to stretch the hit into a double.
Dodge City answered back with the same start given to Zach Jacobs on a dropped third strike, but the Athletics took the lead on a two-run home run off losing pitcher Marcos Blanchard.
The game was tied in the top of the third when Naifeh scored on the double steal attempt; but the Athletics took the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth.
Luke Luchetti hit a single that would have loaded the bases, but a Owasso error by the outfield allowed Cole Davis to score from third base. Michael Flax followed with a sacrifice bunt that scored Englehart.
Dodge City made the scored 8-2 in the seventh inning as they were finally able to chase Blanchard off the mound. Davis drew a bases loaded walk, Englehart hit a two-run single and Davis later scored on a wild pitch.
Blanchard struck out 11 in his seven innings of work for Owasso.
The Athletics scored their final run in the bottom of the eighth on a RBI single by Gann.
The two teams will meet again in another game tonight at Cavalier Field. The first pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.