The sixth ranked Rolla baseball team (11-2-1, 4-0 OC) traveled to Camdenton for an Ozark Conference matchup on Monday, April 16. The Bulldogs mashed their way to a 10-0 victory in just five innings of play to keep their perfect record in the conference.
After a quiet first inning, Rolla scored a pair of runs in the second. The first run came across after a pair of singles from Zeke Arthur and Will Bolyard. Camdenton's Garrett Stamper tried a pick-off move, but the throw was wild and Rolla's first run came across to score. Noah Doyle drove in a run later in the inning on a failed double play attempt, giving the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.
The third inning is where the Bulldogs kicked into overdrive. Brett Gonzalez led off the inning with an triple, before an RBI double by Tristen O'Neal. After a walk, Joel Simmons reached on a bunt single to load the bases. A passed ball gave Rolla a 4-0 lead, before another walk. Doyle then hit a sac fly to drive in another run. Rolla never slowed down, as Arthur drove in a pair of runs on a two-out triple, followed by an RBI single by Davie Pound and another RBI by Gonzalez. The Bulldogs batted around in the inning and led 9-0 going into the third.
After a scoreless fourth, Pound walked in the fifth and came around to score thanks to a passed ball and a wild throw to third. That gave Rolla a 10-0 lead and a mercy rule win.
Jeremiah Ruth pitched five scoreless innings for Rolla, allowing just five hits to earn the win. He struck out two batters. Head coach Marty Hauck was glad to see the Bulldog defense take care of business behind the strong performance on the mound.
"It was good to see our defense work the way that we have," said coach Hauck. "This is probably one of the best games that we've looked defensively and I truly attribute that to being able to be outside for a couple of days of practice last week."
Arthur, Doyle and Pound each drove in two runs on one hit, while O'Neal added another RBI and scored twice. Simmons had the only multi-hit game for Rolla, going 2-2 with a walk, a steal and a run scored. As a team, Rolla had eight hits and five walks in the win. Doyle was glad to chip in during a great team performance at the plate.
"It felt good today actually having a good conference game," said the senior third baseman. "I've been trying to get my bat back, but today felt really good at the plate."
Coach Hauck certainly liked what he saw from the top of the lineup to the bottom in the mercy rule win.
"I like to put up double digits, obviously. I liked that we started hitting the baseball a little bit. We haven't played in a week, so it's good to come out and score 10 runs," said coach Hauck. "We got to get runners moving, which is what we like to do and we got to put the defense in situations and it ended up going our way this time."
The win keeps Rolla a perfect 4-0 in the conference on the season. Now ranked number six in Class 5, the Bulldogs have the confidence to keep moving in the right direction.
"It makes us feel good, it makes us have confidence," said Doyle. "We knew our team was good, but all these wins strung together and the way we're playing, it makes us feel good to roll into Districts with the momentum behind us."
While coach Hauck likes the way his team is playing, he knows there's always ways to improve. He's going to keep his team hungry to be better every game.
"We're just trying to control our end of things and play baseball the way we know how," said coach Hauck. "We still have a lot of work to do. We're just trying to clean up some things and once we do, hopefully we can make a run here at the end, but it's way too early and there's a lot of baseball to be played."
Rolla will look to keep rolling against one of the tougher teams on their schedule when they hit the road to face Jeff City on Wednesday, April 18.