WATERTOWN – In a low-scoring game, it’s the little things that matter. Those little things often determine the difference between a win and a loss.
For the Watertown-Mayer baseball team, they did those little things right in the clutch, helping them pull off a 2-1 thrilling walk-off win against the Annandale Cardinals at home Tuesday night.
“It was great to see the players get a win today, even though we did not score a lot of runs,” W-M coach Justin Stohs said. “We did put pressure on the bases by putting the ball in play and moving runners through the bunt game and taking an extra base when we could.”
W-M’s ability to take advantage on the base paths was a big reason for the win. In the bottom of the first, Jackson Meyer led off the inning with a double, but it was base running ability and decisiveness that made it a double and set W-M up with a chance to take an early lead. Ansen Dulas delivered with an RBI single to right, putting the Royals up 1-0 early.
“Jackson Meyer led off with a double, but it was his great read and hustle that got him to second,” Stohs said. “Then a timely hit by Ansen Dulas got us a lead.”
Annandale would tie the game at one in the top of the third, forcing W-M to once again take advantage on the base paths in the bottom of the seventh.
With the game tied at one in W-M’s final at bat, the Royals worked a little more late-game magic. Nick Trucke led off the inning with a walk, and a perfect bunt from Cale Wabbe moved him into scoring position with just one out.
Trucke moved up to third on an error, and the Royals had the game-winning run at third with just one out and Tanner Hilten at the plate. Hilten was the player who was the hero last time for the Royals against Dassel-Cokato, but Annandale was able to get him out with a pop fly to third this time.
Down to their final out, it came down to a curve ball in the dirt. With Elliot Maas up, a curve ball from Annandale’s Paul Meyer got away, allowing Trucke to score on a passed ball and give the Royals a 2-1 walk-off win for the second time this season.
While base running was a key for the Royals in the win, Dulas was dominant on the mound. He went all seven innings, allowing one unearned run off of two hits while striking out nine.
“On the mound, Dulas was aggressive and made great pitches when needed,” Stohs said.
With the win, W-M improved to 2-2 on the season, and already has matched their win total from last season when they went 2-16. With another thrilling win under their belts, the Royals will be looking to build off of it even more.
“We did a lot of little things well today, and will have to continue to do that in the future,” Stohs said. “It is great to see it all come together, and the guys build some confidence for the future.”