With only one win in its first six games and riding a four-game losing streak, William Chrisman’s baseball team was in need of a pick-me-up.
A game against Ruskin proved to be just what the Bears needed.
Chrisman ended that skid resoundingly Wednesday with an 11-0 five-inning victory on the Bears home field in Suburban Middle Seven Conference action.
With a good day at the plate, on the mound and in the field, the Bears are feeling a little bit better about themselves.
“We just needed some confidence,” Chrisman outfielder Dawson Herl said. “All the games we’ve lost we’ve been in. It’s just been a couple of runs or we let one bad thing affect us. I think we just needed one (win), and I think we’re about to start rolling.”
Chrisman (2-5 overall, 1-3 Suburban Middle Seven) started rolling early. The Bears batted around in the first inning and took a 4-0 lead with two hits, three walks and two wild pitches. They scored five more on three hits in the second with Lucas Alfrey delivering the big blow with a two-run single.
Bears outfielder Matthew Miller, who went 2-for-3 and stole five bases, swiped two of them as he plated the lone run in the third on a balk. Four more walks helped bring home another run in the fourth.
Even though Chrisman finished with a modest six hits, Bears coach Miles Shelton was pleased with their discipline at the plate against Ruskin’s erratic pitching.
“I was actually over here joking with them, if the count got to 3-0, I wanted them to take it to help their on-base percentage,” Shelton said. “Offensively I thought we were good, especially not swinging at bad pitches up there.”
Shelton was also pleased with the effort put in by starting pitcher Jonathan Dotson, who was making his first appearance. A senior left-hander who battled tendinitis early in the season, Dotson held Ruskin (1-4, 0-4) to four hits and a walk with three strikeouts over four innings.
“He had all three of his pitches working for him today,” Shelton said. “The kid worked his butt off all winter long for us. I’m glad I got him out here today to throw, and he pitched really well.”
Dotson also got help from an errorless Chrisman defense that turned in the play of the day in the second inning when Herl sprinted into shallow right field and made a spectacular diving catch that robbed Ruskin of a sure base hit.
“I just read it right, and knew that I had the play on it,” Herl said. “So I dove for it, and I got it.”
And Chrisman got the win it desperately needed. Next up for the Bears is a trip to Grandview on Friday. Chrisman beat Grandview in the Raytown Schools Tournament last month, so Shelton thinks the Bears can finally get some momentum going.
“That’s what I’m hoping for,” Shelton said. “Hopefully we can continue this little win streak we’ve got.”