Tates Creek ace Trevor Gott had trouble locating the plate at times, but he found it when he needed it the most, and the No. 6 Commodores beat host Paul Laurence Dunbar 2-1 Monday night.
Gott, a 5-foot-11 senior right-hander who has signed with the University of Kentucky, was behind in the count a lot, but he ended each of the first five innings with a strikeout.
"I found it when I needed it," he said after getting his second victory of the season to go with two no decisions.
Gott worked six innings, gave up one run, three singles, three walks and finished with nine strikeouts.
Ryan Fucci closed out the seventh.
The Commodores needed strong pitching and defense because they couldn't muster much offense against Dunbar sophomore Tyler Cox, who pitched six strong innings.
Tates Creek, which had only three hits, manufactured both of its runs.
Gott was hit by a pitch with one out in the second. Pinch runner Alex Orr went to third on Phillip Donvan's single, and scored on Zyler Cosby's fielder's choice.
The same thing happened in the fifth. Donovan was hit by a pitch and eventually came home on Devin Jackson's fielder's choice.
No. 17 Dunbar scratched out its run in the fifth on a walk, sacrifice and a two-out single by Parker DeAgano.
DeAgano stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. But Gott escaped further trouble by fanning Brad Harp.
"He's a top-quality pitcher," Tates Creek Coach Dom Fucci said of Gott. "He's usually a hard-throwing control guy, but he's still getting into his rhythm as he gets his work in and the weather warms up."
Ryan Fucci dodged a bullet in the seventh.
He walked lead-off hitter Trent Martin, and pinch runner Tyler Zander went to third on a wild pitch and a passed ball.
After Fucci got a strikeout, he walked Tyler DeAgano
Dunbar Coach Larry Poynter then called for a squeeze, but sophomore Blake Martin whiffed as he tried to bunt on a low, outside pitch. Commodores catcher Austin Broome easily tagged out DeAgano a few feet up the line.
"We got lucky there," Dom Fucci said.
Poynter didn't second-guess himself on the squeeze. He said he learned the attack strategy as an assistant under Fucci at Tates Creek.
"I believe in that style and I'd do it 100 times again if I had the opportunity," he said. "And Blake Martin would get (the bunt) down 99 times out of 100."
Poynter said he was "very pleased" with the way his young team (only five seniors on the roster) "has kept battling" the first few weeks of the season.
"We're still trying to find our identity as a team, and I think tonight went a long way to help us find it," he said.
Tates Creek is looking to improve, too.
"Our pitching has been good, and our defense has been outstanding," Dom Fucci said. "Once we get our sticks going, we'll be in good shape."
Tates Creek 010 010 0—2 3 0
Paul Dunbar 000 010 0—1 3 1
Trevor Gott, Ryan Fucci (7) and Austin Broome. Tyler Cox, Chris Beymer (7) and Parker DeAgano. W—Gott. L—Cox.
Records—Tates Creek 9-2; Paul Dunbar 6-7.