A four-run sixth inning helped propel the Queen Creek baseball team to a 5-2 win against Mesa High in its season opener on Wednesday.
Ryan Kottcamp went 3-for-4 with three RBI, while Bryce Dobbs had two hits, including a solo home run. Chase Beal pitched a solid five innings with eight strikeouts and only two hits given up. Kody Funderburk, who relieved Beal in the top of the sixth, walked away with the win after sitting down three straight.
"Today, the small things carried over," said head coach Mike Campbell. "Guys were helping out behind the dish, catching in between innings, picking up gloves and hats. They were picking each other up. Ryno comes up and picks us up offensively quite a bit. The pitchers picked us up. We struggled early, but the guys bounced back and got it done."
The score stayed 0-0 until the top of the fourth when Mesa was able to take advantage of a few Bulldog errors to put two on the board.
In the bottom of the inning, Dobbs struck with a double to right field, but Queen Creek was unable to bring him in, holding the score at 2-0.
With the beginning of the order up in the bottom of the fifth, QC's Marcus Still smacked a single and then advanced to third on two-straight stolen bases. With one out and Still in scoring position, Kottcamp had his first RBI with a double to left field to cut the score to 2-1.
A quick inning from reliever Funderburk sent the Bulldogs into the bottom of the sixth untouched.
Dobbs started the inning with a solo bomb to tie up the game at two apiece and then Jake Schlosser followed with a single. Mesa looked to stop the bleeding with two strikeouts, but an intentional walk and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases with Kottcamp up to bat.
On a 2-2 count, Kottcamp connected on a curveball to bring in two runs with a hit up the middle. The Bulldogs went on to score one more in the inning and go up 5-2 heading into the seventh.
"I was just thinking first pitch fastball, to go with it and then I fouled it off," said Kottcamp of the at-bat. "I took a few more pitches and battled. He threw me one more curveball and I stayed right with it. I trusted my hands and hit a nice ball up the middle."
Still came in to close the game for Queen Creek and quickly secured three outs to give his team the season-opening victory.
"It's a huge win for us to give us a lot of confidence," said Kottcamp. "We knew they were a good club and we played really well. We'll carry on with that confidence."