Claremore junior pitcher Chris Dotson took advantage of the wind blowing out in left field Tuesday night in Collinsville.
After going 2-for-3 with an RBI-double and a single in Game 1, Dotson smashed a solo homer over the left-center field wall in Game 2 to lead the 3A Zebras past the Cardinals.
Both Metro Lakes Conference rivals competed to a 3-3 tie in the first of two American Legion games at the Collinsville Baseball Complex.
Dotson set the tone early in the top of the second inning of Game 1 with a one-out RBI-double to left field. Dotson’s two-bagger plated Claremore junior first baseman Cameron Smith, who reached on a walk to open the inning, to make it 1-0.
Claremore senior pitcher Cole Weiesnbach held Collinsville to one run through four innings.
The Cardinals tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning on Gary Olivier’s RBI-double to left-center field.
Claremore answered in the top of the fifth with two runs on two hits to regain the 3-1 lead.
Senior shortstop T.J. Wood ripped a two-out RBI-double to left-center field and Claremore senior catcher Matt Whatley followed with an RBI-double to the left field wall to plate Wood.
The two-bagger from Wood plated Claremore senior left fielder David Mosby, who reached on a lead-off walk in the fifth.
Weiesnbach worked a scoreless bottom half of the fifth, thanks to solid defense from second baseman Cody Tyre, center fielder Spencer Walden and shortstop (T.J.) Wood.
Dotson added his second hit in Game 1 in the top of the sixth with a two-out single to center field. The base hit opportunity kept Dotson at first base and the Zebras scoreless in the sixth.
After Weiesnbach tossed five innings with one run allowed on four hits and four strikeouts, Claremore coach Dustin Hughes called on (Cameron) Smith in the bottom of the sixth.
Smith walked Connor Crutchfield to open the sixth, and then Brandon Varner smacked a towering two-run homer over the left field wall to tie the game at 3-3.
Following Varner’s blast, Smith regained his composure and retired the next three Collinsville hitters in order with strong defensive plays from Tyre, Wood and Weiesnbach.
Coming out in the top of the seventh, Claremore had a chance to take the lead as Walden led off with a single to right field. Moments later, though, Walden attempted to steal second base, but was thrown out on by Collinsville catcher (Brandon) Varner on the relay to shortstop (Connor) Crutchfield.
Weiesnbach drew a walk and advanced to second on the stolen base, but a strikeout to Wood and groundout by Whatley capped the seventh for the Zebras.
Collinsville got runners on second and third in the bottom of the seventh, but Claremore’s defense answered with Mosby catching Crutchfield’s two-out flyball at the warning track in left field to end the first game.