The Williston Red Devils hosted the Dunnellon Tigers Tuesday night in their second game of the 2022 season. Williston tied their first game of the new campaign 2-2 against Vanguard on Monday. This was the first contest for Dunnellon this season after finishing last year with a record of 13-12. The Red Devils are coming off an up-and-down season in 2021 in which they finished 14-14. They swept the season series against Dunnellon last year by winning both games against the Tigers. It was a very different story Tuesday as Williston fell to Dunnellon 16-3 in just six innings.
Back-and-Forth First Few Innings
The Red Devils had junior Hunter Bullock starting on the mound Tuesday night. Bullock had a shaky first inning as the Tigers jumped on him early. After having an out slip through his hands due to an error, the right-hander allowed two hits by the three and four hitters in the Tigers’ lineup. The second of these two drove in the first run of the ballgame as Dunnellon took the 1-0 lead early.
In the bottom of the first, Ryan Braddock led off the inning with a walk and put his speed on full display right away. He stole second with ease and then stole third base too. In the ensuing at-bat, Talin Sandquist struck out on a ball in the dirt but on the throw to first from the catcher, Braddock showed off his wheels again by scorching home to tie the game at one.
— Hugh Green (@HGreen_15) February 22, 2022
Hectic Third Inning
After a scoreless second inning, both teams put some runs on the board in the third. Following another error by the Williston defense, which allowed a runner to advance to third, Dunnellon scored their second run of the game on a sacrifice fly to right. Then, after a base hit and a walk, the Tigers’ catcher doubled down the left-field line; extending their lead to 4-1.
In the bottom half of the third, Williston responded with two runs of their own. Second baseman Breeden Clemenzi got on base to lead off the inning thanks to an error by the Dunnellon shortstop. The lineup turned over as the leadoff man Ryan Braddock stepped to the plate and hit a line-drive double in the left-center gap. This screamer drove in Clemenzi and shrunk the Williston deficit to just two. Braddock caused havoc on the basepaths again as he was able to score all the way from second on a sacrifice bunt by Hunter Bullock. This closed the gap even more as Dunnellon now led 4-3 going into the fourth.
Dunnellon Take Control in Later Innings
Talin Sandquist came into the game to relieve Hunter Bullock after three innings of work. Bullock allowed three earned runs on four hits and three walks while striking out one. Sandquist threw a near-perfect fourth inning as he allowed just one baserunner and had two strikeouts in the frame. The Devils went down one-two-three in the bottom of the fourth as they went to the fifth still trailing by one.
The fifth inning is where things started to fall apart for Williston. Sandquist did not have the same fortune as he had in the previous inning. The senior right-hander walked two Tigers and gave up another baserunner on a base hit. He started to lose his control of the strike zone a little bit as his arm got tired. Sandquist allowed two runners to score in the inning off two wild pitches in the span of one at-bat. The Devils couldn’t get anything going on offense either as they went down quietly in the bottom of the fifth.
— Hugh Green (@HGreen_15) February 23, 2022
Disastrous Sixth Inning
Sandquist came out for the sixth frame as he tried to bounce back from a tough inning prior. It did not go as planned as he gave up a walk and plunked a batter in the inning. One run came across to score on yet another wild pitch as Dunnellon now led 8-3. The Red Devils Head Coach Mike Bullock had seen enough and thought a pitching change was what his team needed.
Bullock called on Kyler Lamb, the 6’4” sophomore who plays both baseball and basketball for Williston. Lamb did not fare well against the Tigers’ offense. He faced eight batters in his short-lived outing, six of which came across to score. The left-hander walked four batters to go along with two hit batsmen in just 1/3 of an inning. To stop the bleeding, Coach Bullock put Miles Beville on the mound. Beville was finally able to put a stop to the Tigers’ rampage as they were now up 16-3.
The game finished at this score after just six innings as the mercy rule was put into effect.
— Hugh Green (@HGreen_15) February 23, 2022
This was just the second game of a very young campaign, so it is not time to panic for the Red Devils. As players are just starting to get into the flow of the long season, Williston has a lot to look forward to. Their next contest will come on the road against Newberry in their first district game of the year next Tuesday night. Newberry swept the season series in 2021 against the Devils 4-0. It should be a fun matchup as two of the district’s top teams go head-to-head.