Mountains

Bulldogs hit into state tourney slot

Dove Creek baseball players earned a slot as one the top eight 1A teams in the state last weekend by defeating two teams in district play at Alamosa.

That was the second straight district baseball title for the Bulldogs.

The Dolores County High School team will now advance to the state tourney in Denver next weekend.

Neither La Veta nor Cotopaxi challenged the Bulldogs, who defeated La Veta 15-5 in six innings and then went on to trounce Cotopaxi 20-1 in just five innings of championship play.

"Our hitters really came through," said Dove Creek coach Ken Soper.

Against La Veta, the big hitter was Tyler Ebberts, who went 4 for 5 with a double and 5 RBIs. Nick Jones was 2 for 3, and Tyson Smith hit 2 for 5 with a couple RBIs.

As a team, the Bulldogs had 10 hits and batted .357 in that game.

The bats were even hotter against Cotopaxi, hitting .536 as a team, with 15 hits. Ebberts was 3 for 3 with 3 RBIs, for a total of 8 in the tourney. Brent Smith was 3 for 4 with 3 RBIs, and Jordan Ernst had 2 of each.

But batting wasn't the Bulldog's only strength, with two pitchers going the distance. Jordan Ernst struck out seven La Veta players and walked six. Against Cotopaxi, Dalton Randolph struck out six with no walks.

"Both of the pitchers looked the best they have all year," Soper said. "Actually, the whole team looked the best it has all year."

Dove Creek had no errors in the La Veta game.

The Bulldogs will face Caliche at All-Star Park in Lakewood at 10 a.m. Saturday. If they're successful, they'll play in the semifinals that day.

The championship game will be played the following weekend.

"The Eastern Slope has some really solid teams," Soper said, "but if (the Bulldogs) play like they did in Alamosa, they've got a pretty good chance.

"It will be tough."

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