The Dodge City Red Demons boys baseball team nearly squandered away both of Saturday’s games against the Wichita East Blue Aces, but narrowly found a way to win them, scoring runs in the bottom of each seventh inning to start the season 2-0.
The wins came the same day the team recognized the Red Demons 1999 6A State Baseball Championship team, which included current head coach Zach Shipley, then a player, and current Dodge City High School athletics director Jay Gifford, then the head coach.
Saturday’s games started with a back-and-forth game that was anything but a pitchers’ duel.
All told, the two teams combined for 27 runs on 28 total hits. The teams also combined for eight errors in the first game.
The Red Demons led 6-1 through the end of the second inning, but three Blue Aces runs in the third got them back into it.
From there on, it was a slugfest. The top of the first inning was the only one in which the Red Demons held the Aces without a run. The Blue Aces made up for that with three in the third and four in the top of the fifth.
The Red Demons led 11-9 entering the sixth, an inning in which each team scored two runs.
The Blue Aces tied the game up at 13-13 in the top of the seventh.
In the bottom of the inning, Dodge City scored the winning run on an overthrow to third by the catcher, which allowed Dodge City sophomore Erubiel Duron to score from second base, making the score 14-13.
The second game was equally back-and-forth, and similarly dramatic.
With the score tied 8-8 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, sophomore Matt Friess led off with a walk.
After he advanced to third via an overthrow, junior Ty Bacon and sophomore Damian Rodriguez both were walked, loading the bases.
That brought up senior Wyatt Childress, who was hit by a pitch to walk the winning run across the plate for a 9-8 victory by the Red Demons.
Leaders Through Two Games
So far this season, the following Red Demons lead the team in the listed statistics:
• Hits: Sophomore Erubiel Duron (5)
• RBIs: Duron and senior Noah Sowers (4 each)
• Runs: Senior Adrian Mendoza and sophomore Damian Rodriguez (4 each)
The Red Demons host a home doubleheader Friday against Wichita South. Game one is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.