Enjoy the ride.
Those were the words Bunceton Dragons baseball coach Tony Turner used after the Dragons improved to 3-0 on the season by beating Stoutland 17-7 Wednesday night in Bunceton.
“I expressed to the boys that it did not define who we were this early in the season only playing two games up to this point,” Turner said. “I expect the boys each game on and off the field to live by our team philosophy, which is 100 percent complete focus, concentration and above and 100 percent perfect effort. This spring you get the sense and feeling through the intensity and fun atmosphere that the boys have something to prove to everyone but most importantly themselves. In three games we have scored 37 runs so it’s exciting and joyful to watch this team hit. Our pitching is strong and players like Brayden Doyle, Jason Burnett and Skyler Shuffield are displaying real power this spring.”
Of course that doesn’t mean that Bunceton will cruise through games. Such was the case against Stoutland as the Dragons led by just one (6-5) after two complete innings. Meanwhile, after a scoreless third inning, Stoutland plated two more runs to go up 7-6. However it was pretty much all Bunceton after that with four runs in the bottom-half of the fourth and seven again in the fifth for the victory.
Speaking of victory, Jason Burnett did just enough on the mound for the Dragons by holding Stoutland to five runs on just two hits and two walks. He also struck out two batters while throwing only 45 pitches in two innings. Rylee Knapheide then came in and pitched three innings in relief and struck out seven batters while giving up two runs on one hit and four walks.
Bunceton also out-hit Stoutland 7-3, with Brayden Doyle going 3-for-3 with a single, two doubles and five RBIs. Jason Burnett finished the game with two singles and two RBIs while Hunter Shuffield added a home run and three RBIs, Austin Alpers one single and Austin Anderson, Dakota Rose and Dylan Flatt each with one RBI.
Grant Ziegenbein homered in the game for Stoutland and also took the loss on the mound by giving up six runs on two hits and three walks in two innings.
Thursday’s game
Bunceton 10, Slater 6
Bunceton’s baseball team rallied from a one run deficit to beat Slater last Thursday in Bunceton.
The Dragons trailed Slater 6-5 after three innings before rallying back with three runs in the fourth and two again in the fifth for the win.
Bunceton coach Tony Turner with little to no outside practice the Dragons are in better shape than most would expect. “We have mainly focused on simulated pitching games and good old fashion hitting practice,” Turner said. “Because we have focused on hitting and pitching simulated games we have scored 20 runs in the last two games and pitching has been outstanding and a reliable factor in our last two games. Just like the fall of 2017, production was limited in our first spring game against Calvary Lutheran and so I moved Brayden Doyle to the ninth hole and that paid off with Doyle hitting two bombs and scoring four or more runs against Slater.”
Dillon Alpers picked up the win in relief for the Dragons by striking out 10 batters in four innings. He also had two walks. Rylee Knapheide, meanwhile, started the game and allowed six runs on one hit and nine walks while striking out seven batters in three innings.
As for the hitting in the game for Bunceton, Brayden Doyle went 3-for-3 with a single, two home runs and five RBIs.
Jason Burnett was 3-for-4 with a single, two doubles and three RBIs while Hunter Shuffield added one double, Layne Maddox with one single and one RBI, Dakota Rose with one single and Dillon Alpers with one RBI.
Spencer Wilson had the only hit in the game for Slater, being a double.