By Amanda Perkins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
The Dora Falcons are district champs for the fifth year in a row.
The Falcons hosted the Norwood Pirates in a Class 1, District 5 showdown Tuesday night. Dora drew first blood, putting two runs on the scoreboard in the first frame. The Pirates answered at the top of the second, but the Falcons ultimately secured their victory with an 11-run finish in the second, despite Norwood outscoring them in the final innings.
“Take away the second inning and it’s a 6-3 ball game,” said Norwood head coach Drew Miller. “You can’t give up an 11 spot there in the second inning. Last night against Winona, I had to throw our two best arms, so we were kind of low on pitching today, but our guys stepped up and gave us a chance to win there late.”
Dora head coach Rick Luna noted his team’s patience, particularly in the second inning. “We were disciplined at the plate,” he said. “We talk all year long about getting our pitches and not the pitcher’s pitch, and so I don’t know how many times we hit with two strikes on us, and we were jumping on the fastball early in the count. From the top to bottom of the lineup, everybody was loose and hitting the ball well.”
“The triplets (Auston, Bryson, and Mason Luna) along with senior JJ Ryan hit the ball well today,” added Coach Luna. “It’s kind of a combination between them, to keep the guys in the dugout going. They all did a good job.”
Auston picked up an RBI in the first frame with a double to score brother Bryson. Colby Hoover then singled to score Auston, and Dora led 2-0.
Norwood’s Jacob Sinning reached on an error in the top of the second. Owen Buttram singled, Zack Black walked, and Seth Bradshaw walked to knock in Sinning, 2-1.
But in the bottom of the second, Dora’s first nine batters reached base before an out was recorded. The Falcons picked up five extra base hits, four doubles, and a three-run homer by clean-up hitter Colby Hoover. Dora led 13-1 after two innings.
The teams were scoreless in the third and fourth. In the top of the fifth, Norwood’s Zack Black smacked a double with bases loaded and scored Jacob Sinning and Dylan Calhoun.
Two of Dora’s runners were tagged out at home in the bottom of the fifth and the sixth. But each team put up one run in the sixth; a Sinning home run for Norwood and an Auston Luna double to score Mason Luna for Dora. A scoreless seventh meant a 14-6 Dora victory.
“Our seniors (Seth Bradshaw, Mason Page, Brandt Livingston, Owen Buttram)stepped up tonight with key hits, keeping our team motivated,” said Coach Miller. “We’re really going to miss those fellas. Seeing them leave is pretty tough.”
“I’m proud of our boys for getting where we’re at,” he added. “In the fall, we were 2-11, and nobody expected us to be here or to play a seven inning ball game. We’re young, have a lot of our kids coming back, and they showed some fight there late. We’ll be back next year.”
The Falcons advance to sectional play and will face the winner of South Iron vs. Eminence. Last year, their season ended in sectional play against Greenfield.
“That was our fifth district in a row, and today was our 20th win,” said Coach Luna. “Twenty is always a big number in the spring because it rains so much you can’t ever get a game in. That was one of those milestones we were trying to get to.”
The All-District team was also named, including Mason Luna, Auston Luna, Tyler Luna, Colby Hoover, JJ Ryan, and Bryson Luna, all of Dora; Seth Bradshaw and Garrett Davault of Norwood; Nick McBride, Jaden Thacker, and Kyle Redmond of Winona, and Stone Peterson of Koshkonong.