One of the strengths of the River Bluff baseball team is its ability to bounce back from adversity.
The Gators will have one more opportunity to do that after losing 7-0 to Dorman on Wednesday in game two of the best-of-three Class 5A championship series.
With the win, the Cavaliers tie the series and force a deciding game Saturday at Lander University. Game time will be announced Thursday.
It is the second consecutive year the Gators will play in the deciding game of the championship series. River Bluff dropped the final two games after winning the opener against Northwestern last year.
“If I would have told you before the year we would have one game to win the whole thing, I think we would have signed up for it. We will be ready,” River Bluff coach Mark Bonnette said. “I think our guys will come ready to play and get a couple days of practice under us. It will be a great atmosphere, and we will be ready to go.”
After pounding out nine runs in the series opener, the Gators managed only one hit, an infield single from Grant Brittingham, and had five base runners against Dorman’s Tanner McAllister and Jack Hennessy.
McAllister, the College of Charleston signee, pitched the first 5 1/3 innings, allowing one hit, striking out three and walking three in improving to 10-0. He was pulled after 89 pitches so he can be used again in case Saturday’s game gets rained out and the two teams would have to play Monday.
Offensively, Kentucky commit Dylan Rogers went 3-for-3 with a pair of solo homers and three RBIs. Rogers had an RBI triple in the first inning as the Cavaliers scored twice off Brittingham, who was coming off back-to-back complete-game shutouts in the playoffs.
“It has huge for us to get on the board early,” Dorman coach Jack Jolly said. “Tanner had a good first inning, and for us to jump out with two in the first really settled us down and gave us confidence. It set the tone for the entire game.”
Hunter Smith and Hunter Pruitt each drove in two runs for the Cavaliers.
Brittingham lasted just 3 2/3 innings.
“Tonight was their night, and Saturday night was ours,” Bonnette said. “This team has responded all year long. And any time we had a bad game, we came back, and that is why we are here. I have no doubt our kids will respond.”