KINGSPORT — Dobyns-Bennett baseball coach Ryan Wagner liked what he saw from his team Monday evening or, better yet, the way his team responded.
When the Indians faced off against Sullivan South earlier in the season, the victory took 13 innings. Monday’s 13-9 Tribe win saw both squads work just as hard in seven.
“We just had to keep responding all game. South has one of the best hitting teams in the conference and we kept fighting back to score runs each inning. We had so many people throughout the lineup get hits when needed,” Wagner said.
The Indians’ top responder was third baseman Austin Dayton, who started the scoring with a two-out RBI single in the first. He closed out the scoring with a two-run home run in the sixth. For the night he went 4-for-4 with walk and three RBIs.
“I was sitting on a first-pitch fastball, and that’s what he threw and I was waiting,” Dayton said. “This is a big rivalry and you never know what can happen. It can go five innings or it can go 20.”
The score seesawed through four innings, with the Rebels finally going ahead 9-8. That lead came courtesy of a four-run fourth that included RBI singles by Russell Koesters and Tyler Troutman.
Wagner’s most clutch responder may have been pitcher Kyle Reeves. Reeves entered the game in the fifth and allowed only one hit over the final three innings.
The Rebels (16-8, 7-3 Big 8 Conference) had totaled 13 baserunners through the first four innings.
“They shut us down the last three innings and that was the name of the game. Reeves came in and threw well,” said Rebels coach Anthony Richardson. “We just could not get that third out.”
Finding that third out was a problem. The Indians (18-3, 7-3) scored a total of seven runs after South had recorded two outs in three separate innings.
D-B closed out the scoring with three runs in the fifth and the two on Dayton’s sixth-inning shot.
The three-run fifth included an RBI walk by Caleb Cook and a two-RBI single by Sammy Salyers.
“That is just the difference between wins and losses, coming through in the clutch with two outs,” Wagner said. “As a staff and a team, the confidence is much higher being up four runs instead of two against a good team like South.”
Other responders for the Indians were Sammy Stewart, with two doubles and two RBIs, and Salyers, who closed with three RBIs.
South’s Matt Williams clobbered his eighth home run of the season. Charlie Moore, Preston Douglas and Parker Zollman had two hits each for the Rebels.