DUNEDIN — For two at-bats, Friday night had the appearance of any other typical East Lake-Dunedin game from recent years.
A couple hits, a stolen base and a 1-0 lead – just how numerous mercy-rule contests got their start in the past.
These are clearly different times.
Dunedin pitcher Ashley Ehlers bounced back from that early hiccup and recorded 21-straight outs without surrendering another run in the Falcons' 4-1 win. That gives Dunedin (3-3) back-to-back wins over East Lake (3-2) for the first time in, well, a long while.
“We've been working really hard for this since I was a freshman,” said Ehlers, a junior. “To beat them twice the last two years is just a great feeling because we're all starting to come together.”
Along with scattering eight East Lake hits and striking out five in her complete-game win, Ehlers also came up clutch at the plate. She evened the score 1-1 in the home half of the first with a base hit and drove in the Falcons' second of two third-inning runs with a sacrifice fly to center that scored Taylor Scott.
“We've been focusing on hitting a lot in practice,” Ehlers said. “It's good for me to finally get out of my slump and just try to hit balls hard.”
Dunedin's two-run third proved pivotal, as East Lake struggled to string together hits after averaging 11 runs a night during its three-game winning streak.
“When Aubrey has her game face on she's pretty good,” Dunedin coach Sarah Broeseker said. “The girls really feed off of her, so when she's focused the team's focused.”
East Lake's lone run came when Aliyah Andrews led the game off by legging out an infield single, stealing second and scoring on Maddie Bertisch's base hit into center field.
Bertisch and Ashley Bonalewicz turned in two-hit nights and starting pitcher Diana Rayder connected for a two-out triple in the fourth. Rayder's three-bagger came two at-bats after Dunedin catcher Natalie Barrentine caught pinch runner Alyssa Arnold trying to steal second.
Falcons centerfielder Abigail Sexton drove in both of Dunedin's other two runs and Olivia Silver went 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Sexton and Silver both slammed third-inning doubles.
“The top of the lineup is doing a pretty good job leading the younger girls who are filling out the rest of the roster,” Broeseker said of the Dunedin offense. “We're not scoring tons of runs, but we're staying in the game and getting good at-bats.”
Friday night's victory ends a three-game Falcons skid as they prepare for Tuesday night's Class 5A District 8 road game against Fivay (3-1).
East Lake travels on Tuesday for a District 7A-9 contest at Northeast (3-0).
EL - 100 000 0 --- 1-8-1
Dun - 102 010 x --- 4-7-1
WP – Aubrey Ehlers
LP – Diana Rayder
East Lake (3-2)
Maddie Bertisch – 2-for-4, 1 RBI
Diana Rayder – L, 6.0 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 7 H, 2 K, 3 BB – 1-for-3, 1 3B
Ashley Bonalewicz – 2-for-3
Aubrey Ehlers – W, 7.0 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 8 H, 5 K, 0 BB – 1-for-1, 2 RBI, 1 Sac Fly, 1 BB
Abigail Sexton – 1-for-2, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 Sac Fly
Olivia Silver – 2-for-3, 2 R, 1 2B