COVINGTON COUNTY, Ala. — The Columbia Basin River Dogs didn’t have their best outing in Thursday’s Babe Ruth World Series opener, but it didn’t matter.
The age 16-18 Babe Ruth squad got a strong performance from Coleman Johns on the mound and put together enough offense to secure a 4-2 win against Fond du Lac, Wisc., in Convington County, Ala.
Columbia Basin scored three runs in the bottom of the third inning and plated another in the bottom of the fifth. A handful of timely hits and a few costly errors propelled the team to a win.
“They (Wiconsin) threw a couple balls away at first base and that really (hurt) them,” coach Randy Boruff said.
Ephrata’s Chandler Gribble had an RBI single, and Kyle Weiler and Mitch Darlington of Cashmere both had base hits and Matt Sutherland of East Wenatchee got on base and scored a run. The team finished the contest with just four hits.
Johns, who pitched a complete game, struck out 11, walked three and gave up just three hits in the win.
In all likelihood, the best is yet to come for the River Dogs.
Coach Randy Boruff pointed out his squad started off regionals with a loss and went on to win five straight en route to a World Series berth. Columbia Basin entered the contest short on sleep after spending the night in the Dallas airport while traveling and didn’t get its equipment until just a few hours before game time.
“Our kids played just a half step slow,” Boruff said.
Columbia Basin continues play today at 9:30 a.m. against Cape Cod, Mass. Cape Cod, which has made multiple World Series appearanaces in the last 3-4 years, did not play Thursday and will get to pitch its top arm against the River Dogs today.
Still, Boruff believes his players will be ready.
“We were able to win and that was big,” Boruff said of Thursday’s victory. “So I think that we will play better (today).”