Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
April 24, 2003
Section: Sports
Edition: Final
Page: D1

Mike Fields, Herald-Leader Staff Writer

If Tates Creek is going to be in the business of winning baseball games this season, it looks as if that business will be manufacturing runs.

The 10th-ranked Commodores haven’t found their hitting groove yet this spring, but they showed last night they don’t need a bunch of bats to scrape out a victory.
Coach Dom Fucci’s team managed only two hits, but the Commodores still beat Bryan Station 5-2 in the second game of a city doubleheader at the Legends’ Applebee’s Park.

“Right now, this is the way we’ve got to get things done,” Fucci said. “We’ve got some good hitters on this team. It’s just that our pitching is a little ahead of our offense right now.”

Paul Laurence Dunbar beat Lafayette 7-1 in the first game. The Bulldogs got a strong pitching performance from Josh Ellis, who was making his first start since having knee surgery in December.

Tates Creek got a good turn on the mound, too, from Jason Fielding. The senior right-hander gave up a two-run homer to Bryan Station’s Chris Yankey as the Commodores fell behind 2-1 in the top of the fourth. But he blanked the Defenders the rest of the way.

“That was a heck of a hit (by Yankey),” Fielding said. “But it made me mad. It made me want to come back even harder.”

Tates Creek took a 1-0 lead in the third thanks to two walks, an error and a sacrifice fly.

It pushed across three runs in the bottom of the fourth on three walks and a two-out single up the middle by eighth-grader Wesley Caldwell.

The Commodores added an insurance score in the sixth on a triple by Drew Rushing and a wild pitch.

Bryan Station’s Daniel Campbell was the hard-luck loser. He also went seven innings and gave up just two hits. But seven walks cost him.

Fielding got out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth by striking out Yankey after falling behind in the count 3-1. “I felt some pressure there,” he said.

Ellis, who has signed with Wake Forest, went six innings, struck out seven and gave up four hits and four walks to lead Dunbar to its 11th consecutive victory.

“What a warrior,” Dunbar Coach Mickey Marshall said. “I wanted Josh to only go four innings, but he wanted to stay out here. For him to go six in his first start is awesome.”

Ellis wanted to go as long as he could, he said, because Lafayette was the team that beat him in the district tournament last year.

After his 100-pitch performance, Ellis said he felt a “little weak, but you’ve got to push through that and keep your mechanics straight.

“You’ve got to get your mind where you’re not thinking about your knee. You’ve just got to go out and play.”

Dunbar got all the runs it needed in the third off Generals starter Czack Roe.

Rob Scott singled and scored on Craig Dunn’s single and a Lafayette error. Dustin Morrow followed with his first homer of the spring, a two-run blast to left-center.

“Dustin’s been hitting the ball well all year,” Marshall said. “We’ve been waiting for a shot like that. He’ll never forget hitting one here.”

Morrow, who said he knew the ball was gone when it left his bat, agreed that it was a night to remember.

“Playing here was spectacular,” he said. “It was amazing.”

It was a big night for the high school teams and their fans, who enjoyed all the amenities of the park — pre-game introduction of the full rosters; a fully functioning scoreboard complete with instant replays; music; sound effects; and an immaculately groomed diamond.

The Legends’ bosses, Brad Redmond and Alan Stein, didn’t charge a dime of rent, either.

“We can’t thank them enough,” Fucci said. “This is great for city baseball.”

Paul Dunbar 003 103 0–7 6 1

Lafayette 001 000 0–1 4 4

Josh Ellis, Cory Hager (7) and Davis Stanley. Czack Roe, Jay White (7) and Scott Churchill. WP–Ellis. LP–Roe. HR–Dustin Morrow (PD). 2B–Michael Curtis (L), Craig Dunn (PD).

Records–Dunbar 14-1; Lafayette 10-3.

Bryan Station 000 200 0–2 6 2

Tates Creek 001 301 x–5 2 1

Daniel Campbell and Brian Bland. Jason Fielding and Wesley Caldwell. WP–Fielding. LP–Campbell. HR–Chris Yankey (BS). 3B–Drew Rushing (TC).

Records–Bryan Station 4-8; Tates Creek 8-4.

(1) by CHARLES BERTRAM , STAFF – Kevin Paddock of Paul Dunbar was safe as the ball bounced away from Lafayette’s Scott Churchill. Paddock scored on a sacrifice fly.
(2) by CHARLES BERTRAM , STAFF – Jason Fielding of Tates Creek delivered a pitch in the third inning against Bryan Station. Fielding gave up a pair of runs in the fourth inning, then blanked the Defenders the rest of the way.