The Dodge City Athletics lost their road opener Friday night to the Wellington Heat 3-1 in Jayhawk League action.
For the second straight night, the Athletics had the early lead only to see their opponents come back to earn the victory. Wellington scored in single runs in the fifth, seventh and eighth after Andrew Bynum hit a home run for Dodge City in the fourth inning off Heat starter Josh Stone.
The Heat answered in the bottom of the fifth on a home run of its own by Dalton Bernardi off Dodge City starter Ryan Petersen. Wellington had a chance to take the lead in the sixth when Cole Loncar singled, stole second and reached third on another single; but Loncar was tagged out by Bynum at home trying to score after leftfielder David LaFleur caught a fly ball.
Neither starter was involved in the decision. Peterson threw six innings and gave up seven hits and one run while striking out two for the Athletics; while Stone gave up a run, five hits and walked one while striking out seven in his six innings of work.
Wellington took the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning on a single by Aaron Siple off Dodge City reliever Michael Hadden after Rowdy Andrews is hit by a pitch, then advanced to second on a wild pitch.
Dodge City had a huge chance to tie the game in the top of the eighth when Luke Luccheti and Zach Jacobs opened the inning with singles off reliever Brady Bowen. Nick Osuna laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners; but Luccheti was picked off third base and Aaron Blair struck out to end the threat.
The Heat added another run in the bottom of the eighth when Loncar walked and eventually scored on a wild pitch by Hadden. Hadden threw 1 2/3 innings to suffer the decision on the mound, giving up two earned runs, two hits and a walk while striking out one.
Brandon McMillan pitched the top of the seventh inning to get the victory for the Heat. while Robbie Romero pitched the ninth to earn the save.
The same two teams play again tonight and Sunday night to complete the three-game series. Both games are scheduled to start at 7 p.m.