STAR CITY — A stomach bug forced Star City’s Austin Powell to leave the mound during the third inning, but it couldn’t keep the sophomore off the field.
Powell took over at catcher — his usual position — and had two big hits, including the RBI single that ended Thursday’s game early and gave Star City a 15-5 win over Dumas.
“He had a stomach virus and didn’t feel well,” Bulldogs coach Scott Johnson said of Powell. “He wanted to stay in the game, and even after that I think he had two hits.
“It just shows he’s a great kid and a good player.”
Powell, who singled in his first at-bat and later scored, connected on an RBI double in the fourth inning before ending things with a walkoff single in the sixth inning.
Johnson was proud of the way Powell gutted it out but definitely wasn’t surprised.
“That’s just part of being a leader and a team player,” Johnson said. “It’s the kind of thing we expect out of our kids.
“He was really wanting to win. It just shows the type of player he is and the expectations we have.”
Cole Muckelroy came on in relief for Star City (12-4, 6-1 in 8-4A) after Powell started the third with six straight balls.
Muckelroy had a shaky third inning allowing three runs — one charged to Powell — with the big hit being a two-run single by Peyton Hudson.
After that inning, though, Muckelroy settled down, allowing just two more runs over the final three innings.
“Man, I was impressed,” Johnson said of Muckelroy’s outing. “For it being his first varsity game on the mound, I thought he did really well.
“He threw strikes and let our defense make plays. Our defense didn’t make every play behind him, but he did what we ask out of them.”
On the other side, Dumas starter Ross Weatherford labored through 3 2/3 innings allowing 11 runs (10 earned) on 11 hits with three walks and a hit-by-pitch.
“I can’t be mad at these kids after that,” Dumas coach Alan Neill said, “I mean these are all ninth- and 10th-graders.
“They were better than we were, but we’re getting better. In like our second game, this team beat us 20-0 in three innings.”
Neill said he was encouraged with the progress the Bobcats (3-6, 1-5) are making.
“We have two juniors and two seniors,” he said. “Our entire pitching staff is three ninth-graders and three 10th-graders.
“We’re starting to hit the ball better and we’ve started throwing strikes. It still feels like we’re going one step forward and two steps back. But if we get our arms built up, I think we’ll be pretty good in a couple of years.”
The Bulldogs took advantage of the Bobcats’ young arms to the tune of 15 hits, only two of which were extra-base hits (both doubles).
Austin Capps and Tye Brown both drove in three runs. Capps was 2 for 2 with a walk and HBP, while Brown was 3 for 4. Blake Wynn also went 3 for 4 with a walk and two runs scored.
“It just goes back to having a good plate approach,” Johnson said. “We talked about getting deep in counts and not trying to hit a pitcher’s pitch, but instead wait for our pitch.
“There have been a few times recently when we haven’t done a good job it, but we’re getting better.”