Bryce Dye got the job done with his glove and his bat Thursday.
The Fort Osage junior first baseman robbed host William Chrisman of a big first inning with an unassisted double play, then drove home the winning run with a two-run double in a three-run fourth inning as the Indians topped the rival Bears 5-3 in a key Suburban Middle Six battle.
“I’ve really been looking forward to our three conference games this week,” Dye said after the Indians improved to 7-1 in league play and 9-10 overall. “We beat Oak Park earlier this week, got past a really good Chrisman team today and we host Staley tomorrow, which is the biggest game of the season.
“We’re really playing good baseball right now and I can’t wait for Friday to come.”
While the Indians collected 10 hits and played flawless defense to support the six-hit pitching of starter Logan Phillips and reliever Nick Dye, the Bears kicked the ball around, committing five errors that led to three unearned runs and the ire of coach Tom Campa.
“We have so much respect for Fort Osage,” Campa said after his team fell to 7-13 and 2-6, “we know you can’t make five errors and beat a really good team. Our guys never gave up in the game, but we just made way too many mistakes to beat the Indians.”
Fort Osage took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on an error and Sage Heitman’s RBI single.
The Indians managed to tie it up in the bottom of the third on Trey Stout’s double and a RBI single by Will Fisher.
But that would be it for the Bears’ offense as Phillips and Dye combined to shut down the Bears on just one hit over the final four innings.
“I don’t start like I’d like. I don’t know why, I get off to bad starts but seem to finish strong,” said Phillips, who allowed two runs on five hits with five strikeouts for the win. “I have so much faith when Nick comes in – I have faith in all the guys on the team.”
The score could have been worse for the Indians as the Bears started the game with a walk and a Stout single.
That’s when Dye dove to his left, snagged a smash off the bat of Fisher in the air, and touched first to double off the runner.
“That was all reaction,” Dye said. “You don’t have time to think on a line drive like that. I was happy I was able catch that ball because it was hit hard!”
Dye then drove home the eventual winning runs with his two-run double in the fourth inning. Heitman appeared to have a wind-blown RBI single in the inning, but was ruled out on an infield fly rule as the baseball was blown away from second baseman Nick Ross and first baseman Jordan Mabie.
Indians coach Chris Walker was not happy with the call, but said, “What can you do? We won, and that’s what matters now. Dye was great at first and got the big base hit and Phillips and Dye really pitched well.
“This is a tough place to play – although it’s a beautiful stadium. They did it right when they built it, and Coach Campa has put together a team Chrisman can be proud of.”