Welch breaks stalemate in big fashion as Dragons top Steinbrenner
|Jefferson's Charlie Welch is mobbed at the plate after crushing a 3-run homer over the centerfield wall to break up a scoreless game in the sixth.|
By Jarrett Guthrie
TAMPA – Five clean, competitive innings had the Jefferson-Steinbrenner game looking like a pitcher’s duel in the making, but as Dragons junior relief pitcher Marc DeGusipe walked from the mound after a big third out, strike three call, the home plate ump heard an utterance from the pitcher and deemed it worthy of ejection and the environment changed.
The Dragons coaches and fans was decidedly and vocally unhappy with the decision, but on the field it lit a fire in the Jefferson players in the top of the sixth and the offense responded in a big way in the final two innings to carry off a 7-0 victory over the Warriors.
“We were a little down in the first couple of innings,” Jefferson starting pitch Mike Dominguez said. “But after the ejection we were pumped up, got a little energy going in the dugout, and we started scoring.”
Jefferson (5-1) started the sixth with a leadoff single from AJ Mathis, who eventually stole second and went to third on a wild pitch, before Robby Martin (2-2, double, two runs scored) drew on of his two walks in the game. That set up Charlie Welch, who crushed an 0-1 fastball into the chilly night and over the wall in the deepest part of the field to give the Dragons a three-run lead.
|Charlie Welch connected on a fastball in the sixth to give the Dragons the late lead.|
“First pitch of the at-bat he left me a curveball up and I let it go, so I pretty much knew he was going to bring me a fastball and I jumped all over it and took it deep,” Welch said. “The team adjustment is really coming together nicely. Just watch out for the Jefferson Dragons, baby.”
The Dragons continued to apply pressure with a two-out single by Isaiah Gonzalez, followed by a pair of walks and another run tacked on as Oscar Galvez singled to left.
In the seventh, Jefferson added three more runs keyed by a Martin double, an RBI single by Jake Coleman, and RBI sac flies by Gonzalez and Nick Perez.
“We can kind of play more comfortably after we got some breathing room,” Jefferson coach Juan Fontela said. “You could see at the end of the game there we were more relaxed at the plate and kept applying the pressure by swinging the bats.”
Martin worked the final two innings on the mound for the Dragons, giving up two walks, but striking out four and keeping Steinbrenner off the board.
|Jefferson SP Mike Dominguez worked four, shutout innings in a no-decison for the Dragons with five strikeouts.|
The post-ejection melee did take a little of the luster off two quality starting outings with Steinbrenner getting four shutout innings from Grant Walford (one hit, four strikeouts) and Jefferson’s Mike Dominguez, who also worked four innings, allowing four hits and striking out five. Both starters took no-decisions in the game.
|Steinbrenner SP Grant Walford got a no-decision, working for innings, allowing just one hit and striking out four.|
For Steinbrenner (2-3) at the plate, a dozen strikeouts killed them throughout including loading the bases in the second with no outs and having its first two runners reach to start the home half of the fourth. Noah Luke and Walford each had a pair of hits, and Donovan Garcia singled for the Warriors in the loss.