Dora ranked second in state, now 18-0
The Dora Falcons baseball team remains undefeated and recently moved up to second place in state rankings. After a non-scheduled game with SCA powerhouse Ava, a conference championship game against Bakersfield and the annual West Plains Wood Bat tournament over the weekend the team improved their record to a perfect 18-0.
The Ava Bears traveled to Dora on Tuesday for a filler game due to rain-outs and postponements. With tough lefty pitcher Trae Shelton on the hill for the Bears, the Falcons battled to put runs on the board. With three runs in the first inning and four in the third, Dora had to rely on pitching to close out with a win.
Senior Justin Vonallmen started for the Falcons, giving up five runs on only two hits with only one of the runs earned due to some uncharacteristic errors by the Dora defense.
Vonallmen chalked up five strikeouts in his four innings of work. Jesse Morgan came on in the fifth to close the game. In his three innings, he allowed no hits, no runs, struck out two and walked no one.
On the offensive side, it was Vonallmen leading the way with a first-inning three-run homerun. Billy Sexton had a solo homer of his own and scored twice in the game. Dylan Fox also scored twice, reaching base on a walk and a hit-by-pitch.
Jacob Pardo had a double and a stolen base while the closing pitcher, Jesse Morgan sealed the victory with a three-run blast of his own in the third inning. The Falcons won their 14th straight by a score of 7-5 over the Ava Bears.
On Thursday the Falcons traveled to Bakersfield to take on the Lions for the White River Conference championship. With an outstanding pitching performance by freshman Hayden Hunter, the Lions where held scoreless with no hits and only three base runners, two walks and one hit batter. Hunter recorded six strikeouts. On the offensive side, Dylan Fox had a triple with the rest of the seniors getting one hit each for Billy Sexton, Justin Vonallmen, Dillan Collins, Jacob Pardo, and Coy Collins. Freshman Gavin Haney led the assault with a double and two singles going three-for-four on the night.
Jesse Morgan helped with the offense, grinding out three singles. The Falcons bested the lions with a score of 13-0 to reclaim the White River Conference Championship.
The Falcons battled some stiff competition Friday and Saturday in the annual West Plains Wood Bat tournament. The first round saw a very tough SCA team, the Houston Tigers. Second and third rounds put two top ten state-ranked teams in the way of the championship. Naylor, ranked 10th in the state in Class 1 and Winona, ranked 7th, are both very strong teams. The Houston contest pitted the Falcons against yet another strong south-paw pitcher, Lucas Cooperman.
The Falcons struggled early with only three hits in the first two innings while striking out four times facing the left-hander. Sexton and Fox both drew walks to lead off the third inning. Riley Walker followed with some heads up base running on a dropped third strike and an errant throw to first base. He wound up at second base as the errors allowed the two runs to score to tie the game. Jacob Pardo and Riley Walker had one RBI each in the game with five runs scoring on Houston errors.
Billy Sexton did a great job on the mound for the first four innings. He gave up two runs on only three hits while striking out three. Jesse Morgan closed, giving up three runs in the top of the seventh inning to bring the Tigers within a run before striking out two to end the game and give the Falcons a 7-6 win to bring their record to 16-0.
Facing Naylor on Saturday gave the Dora team yet another challenging lefty on the hill. Once again, the Falcons had to battle, striking out three times with only one hit, a double by Justin Vonallmen, in the first three innings, scoring one run in the third on two errors and a passed ball. With only two more hits on the day, a single in the fourth by Jesse Morgan and another double in the seventh by Vonallmen, the Falcons managed one more run on a walk and an error for a 2-1 win. Justin Vonallmen pitched 7 spectacular innings, striking out 11 batters, hitting 2, and walking only 3 while giving up no hits on the game. He also picked a runner off at first base to end the first inning.
The championship game found the Falcons facing a tough Winona team. They started their offense a little stronger, scoring four runs on four hits in the first two innings. Three of the four hits were doubles by Vonallmen, Morgan and Gavin Haney.
Vonallmen was 1-2 with two walks, one of which was intentional. Haney was 2-4, Jesse Morgan was 2-3, Billy Sexton was 1-2 and Jacob Pardo was 1-4 with a triple, a run scored and an RBI. On the defensive side, Jesse Morgan had a great start for the Falcons. He gave up two runs, both unearned, on one hit while walking two and striking out two in four strong innings.
Hayden Hunter pitched two innings in relief, giving one unearned run while walking only one and striking out two. Justin Vonallmen closed the final inning with a walk and a strikeout, giving him 12 k's on the day. The championship of the West Plains Wood Bat Tournament, put on by Denis Knight, gave the Falcons their 18th straight win of the season.