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Wellington Overcomes Four Run Deficit In District Win

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The Wellington Wolverines came into last night’s 8A-12 showdown with Royal Palm Beach having given up two runs in their last seven games. Yes, you read that right. Two runs allowed in their last seven games.

So the Wolverines had to be shell-shocked early on in this one when the Wildcats jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning.

Wellington, however, did what most 9-1 teams would. They kept their composure, waiting for their opportunities, and then made the most of those opportunities in a thrilling 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Wildcats. The win puts Wellington alone atop the district standings after one round of games.

“That was a big win for us,” said Wellington Manager Scott Riddle. “They have to be a bit deflated that they had that kind of lead and didn’t get the win. For us, it is how we have been playing the past few games, starting slow before getting into the game flow.”

Star slow the Wolverines did. In the second inning, Royal Palm Beach was patient at the plate, working four walks. Nick Adams opened the inning with a walk before Taylor Sellers hit a one out single. Quinten Romo and Luis Delgado then worked back-to-back walks. After a strikeout, Ryan Pinto walked, and when Christyian Adams singled, Royal Palm Beach had built a 4-0 lead.

“Conner (Dunham) didn’t have his best stuff tonight,” said Riddle. “But that is going to happen sometimes. When he is on he is capable of beating anyone, but tonight just wasn’t his night.”

Dunham’s counterpart, Wildcats starter Logan Wood, was having quite the opposite night. Wood cruised through five innings of work, allowing only three Wolverine hits.

In the third inning, Alec Mendez replaced Dunham, and those in attendance could feel the momentum swing as Mendez began working his way through the Wildcats order with little trouble.

“Alec changed the game for us tonight,” said Riddle. “He came in and threw strikes, and we had a feeling the way he was throwing that if we could get the game back tied, we would be in a position to win.”

In the sixth, Wellington was able to do just that. Lead-off hitter Tyler Bolleter started the inning with single that was followed by an Aidan Burr double. Suddenly the Wolverines were in business. Mendez then singled in Bolleter for Wellington’s first run of the game.

Dylan Tosto’s sacrifice fly to deep left cut the lead to 4-2. Tyler Retzler’s ground ball to third scored Mendez with the third run of the inning. Pinch-hitter Logan Solomon’s single would tie the game, scoring Ricky DelRio, who had doubled earlier in the inning.

From there, Wellington turned the ball back over to Mendez, who held the Wildcats scoreless for four additional innings.

“My job was to come in and throw strikes and keep the team in the game long enough for our offense to get rolling,” said Mendez. “Once we tied the game, we had a pretty good feeling we would have a chance to win.”

After the teams exchanged zeroes in the seventh and eighth innings, Wellington came to the plate in the ninth and broke the tie.

Going to his bench once again, Riddle called on Tyler Walker, who promptly singled to lead off the inning. Walker was then sacrificed to second on a bunt by Bolleter. Burr then stepped to the plate and delivered what would be the winning run, on a single.

“I was just trying to work the count and get it into my favor,” said Burr. “Luckily I was able to get a pitch that I was able to handle and hit it for a single.”

Once the Wolverines had the lead, Mendez went back out and finished off his six innings of scoreless relief, giving Wellington the district win.

“It’s a game that we very easily could have lost with the way we started,” said Riddle. “But the guys didn’t panic, and once we improved the tempo of the game, we were able to get things back on track.”

Even with the win, and the 8-1 start, Riddle is cautious over the expectations.

“We still haven’t played our best baseball, and we don’t expect to win 25 games. It’s a long season, and we are where we want to be in terms of the district. But we will see these guys again, and they will be ready to play.”

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