It was a dramatic start to the 2018 season for the Dodge City Athletics baseball team.
Despite never leading, and having at one point trailed by as many as five runs, the A’s came back to beat the Great Bend Bat Cats 9-8, winning on a walk-off by sophomore Jake Cruce in the bottom of the ninth.
His RBI single into right field with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the final inning gave the A’s their only lead of the game, simultaneously ending it.
The A’s tied the game in bottom of the sixth inning at 7-7, then fell behind 8—7 in the top of the eighth before tying the game again in the bottom of the same inning.
Otherwise, they trailed from the opening batter, Great Bend’s Jimmy Cramer having led the game off with a solo home run over the left field fence. That lead swelled in the early innings as the A’s trailed the Bat Cats 7-2 through the first five innings.
“Coming into the game I knew we had some fight in us,” A’s head coach Tony Gonzalez said. “We fell behind early, I mean first hitter goes yard, we’re down 1-0, but I have confidence in my guys that we’re gonna be able to come out and compete in the game. We get 27 outs, I think we utilized every single one.”
Nine players started for the A’s, but they were far from the only members on the team to play Wednesday.
“I used every single guy on my roster today, and if we would have had to go back out there (for a 10th inning) I would have had to put a pitcher out there to play defense,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said he was proud of the team, and said he stressed afterward to them that the fight they showed Wednesday was exactly what they would bring into every game.
The A’s came out lackadaisical though, Gonzalez said, and some were nervous.
Still, they have some talent he said.
The A’s are next in action Friday when they head to Haysville to take on the Aviators. That game is scheduled for 7 p.m. and is the first of six straight scheduled road games before the A’s return home to play the Derby Twins on June 15.