The Dayton Raiders American Legion baseball team finally had the kind of night it could savor Monday.
The struggling Raiders won a dramatic, come-from-behind 6-5 victory in extra innings against Parkville at the Dayton Rod and Gun Club.
The win featured the type of all-around team play that manager George Bickerton has tried to instill.
"I sort of read them the riotact before the game that we were either going to play as a team and root for each other or some people were going to turn in their uniforms," Bickerton said. "It's not too late to pick up some new players, and I'm sure there are some good ones out there who'd like to play for us."
The seven-time defending North-Central District champion Raiders are now 2-6 in the league and 5-7 overall, but looked much better than its record Monday.
Trailing, 4-0, the Raiders rallied for three runs in the fifth inning, and tied the game with one more run in the seventh inning.
Then, after Parkville went ahead, 5-4, in the top of the eighth, Dayton scored two in the bottom of the eighth towin.
"We showed more life on the bench than we have all year, andmaybe now we're going to start playing the way we're capable of playing," Bickerton said.
The night started with turmoil when scheduled Dayton starter Todd Messner (Mount Hebron) forgot his uniform jersey, thereby forfeiting his start to Matt Drummand (Glenelg). Drummand had not started for the Raiders before; he pitched strictly in relieffor Glenelg High this spring.
Drummand lasted 4 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits and four runs. Only one of the runs was earned, however, as the Raider defense made five errors behind him.
Parkville scored one run in each of the second, third, fourth and fifth innings.
The only earned run came in the fourth. With runners at second and third and one out, Parkville's No. 9 batter, Craig Bevins, lifted ashort fly that right fielder Mark Trecannelli (Atholton) caught. He then threw what appeared to be a perfect one-hop strike to catcher Mike Kelley (Mount St. Joseph). But when the throw hit the drought-baked infield, the ball hopped over Kelley's outstretched mitt and the runner scored.
Messner, wearing a borrowed jersey, relieved Drummandwith two out and two runners on base in the fifth and got the final out of that inning on a grounder to third baseman Mike D'Andrea (Glenelg).
Parkville starter Chris Townsley shut out Dayton on no hits through four innings. But the Raiders strung together three hits and a walk to score three times in the fifth.
Messner hit a one-out single. James Cheng (McDonogh) walked. Trecannelli singled home one run. Brian Bickerton (Centennial) singled home two runs.
Bickerton was thrown out in a rundown after Chris Leinauer's hot smash was fielded splendidly by Parkville third baseman Rick
Mellendick. Leinauer (Mount Hebron) was thrown out trying to steal to end the inning.
But now it was a 4-3 game, and Dayton's dugout came alive with hope.
Messner pitched a scoreless sixth despite giving up a lead-off double. He was helped by an inning-ending double play. Trecannelli caughta fly in right field and threw home to catcher Brown well ahead of the Parkville runner, who saw he would be out and headed back to third. But third baseman D'Andrea tagged the runner out.
Messner held Parkville in check by retiring the side in order in the seventh, enhancing Raider hopes for tying or winning the game in the final inning.
But the first two Raider batters were retired in the seventh before Cheng walked. Trecannelli reached first base on an error by Mellendick at third base. Then Bickerton rapped his second clutch hit of thegame, scoring Cheng and tying the game, 4-4.
The inning ended on a ground out by Leinauer, and the close play that got Leinauer at first base was disputed by Raiders manager
In the eighth, Messner gave up a walk, two stolen bases, an RBI-single and another walk before Brian Bickerton was brought in to pitch in relief. He got the Raiders out of the inning.
Brown kept Dayton's hopes alive by reaching on a one-out error. It was a smash that bounced out of the glove of shortstop Jeff Hofstetter.
Eric Glenn (Mount Hebron) singled to left field and sent Brown to second base. Joe Goldberg (Glenelg) walked to load the bases.
Then it was Brian Egolf's (Atholton) turn to play the hero. The left-handed hitting outfield replacementsingled to left field on a two-ball, no-strike pitch, and Brown scored the tying run.
"I'm a low-ball hitter and I figured he was behind 2-0 and would throw me a strike," said Egolf, who hit a low fastball over the outside of the plate.
With one out, the bases still loaded and the score tied, 5-5, Cheng came to the plate.
He bunted perfectly toward first base as the speedy Glenn coasted home with the winning run.