That was a scene that repeated itself over and over Friday night at Dora High School.
Dora starting pitcher Blake Stone struck out 12 batters — including the last five — as the Bulldogs earned a 7-0 win over the Tigers. The win, coupled with Haleyville’s 4-0 victory over Corner, put Dora into the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
“I told our guys that I was gonna shut them down,”said Stone, who kept Fayette County hitters off-balance with his curve ball. “This was probably my best outing. This is great, we haven’t been to the playoffs in a long time. This team has a lot of energy. We always pump up each other.”
Stone got all the offense he needed in the opening inning as Dora pushed across two runs.
The junior pitcher struck out two of the first three batters he faced and got out of a two-on, no-out jam in the second inning. From there, it was all Dora.
“This is a milestone win,” Dora coach Bret Andrews said. “This is something we’ve been looking forward to. These kids deserve it. We set our sights on this and now we’ll have to stay focused and play hard come Friday.”
Dora, the 4A, Area 11 runner up, plays a best-of-three, opening-round series at seventh-ranked Oneonta, the Area 12 champion, starting Friday.
Andrews credited his eight seniors — Andrew Alexander, Dalton Bahrik, Jordan Criswell, Blake Drawhorn, Jacob Gordon, Micah Grayson, Colton Lesley and Justin Shaddix — for getting the Bulldogs back to the postseason.
“These guys have played well. They’ve played with emotion. There have been times when they’ve come out flat, but they’ve learned from that and gotten better from it,” Andrews said.
Against Fayette County, a team that defeated Dora 8-2 on Tuesday, Stone allowed six hits and didn’t walk a batter en route to the victory.
“Blake did an excellent job mixing things up. He kept them guessing and got outs when he needed to. He did an excellent job.” Andrew said.
Dora (22-11) took control of the game early. Bahrik walked and Drawhorn was hit by a pitch with one out. Bahrik scored on a Criswell single and Drawhorn came home on a Stone sacrifice fly.
Fayette County’s best scoring opportunity came in the second inning when the Tigers opened the frame with a single and a double, putting runners at second and third with no outs.
Stone struck out the next batter, got a ground out for out two and another ground out to retire the side.
Dora added three more runs in the third inning. Bahrik walked, Criswell doubled him home and later scored on an error to make the score 4-0. Stone scored the fifth run, coming home on a Zac Roberts ground out.
The Bulldogs added two more runs in the fourth inning. Gordon led off with a double and Alexander walked. Shaddix drove in Gordon with a sac bunt and Bahrik followed with a triple to score Shaddix for a 7-0 lead.
Dora was led by Criswell, who finished 3 for 4 with a run and an RBI, Gordon and Alexander were 1 for 1 with a run, Bahrik was 1 for 2 with two runs and Shaddix added an RBI. The Bulldogs had seven hits and were also aided by four hit batters and five walks.
Of Dora’s seven hits, four went for extra bases. Five of Fayette County’s six hits were singles.