Seeing the weather forecast for Monday’s District 9-2A opener, Paradise ace Dillon Meadows’ spirits perked up.
“It was the perfect weather. Textbook,” Meadows said. “I broke a sweat out there. The other times it’s been freezing.”
The Paradise junior right-hander took advantage of the warm weather, pounding the strike zone and piling up 14 strikeouts in an 8-2 victory over the Alvord Bulldogs in Paradise.
Meadows allowed only two hits and three walks over seven innings.
“I felt good,” Meadows said. “Especially since we lost to them last year, it was nice to get that first district win against them.”
It was his first decision after a pair of no-decisions in non-district play.
Meadows was perfect through two and two-thirds before issuing a walk to Alvord’s Ryan Bartholomew. He then struck out Jonathan Musgrave to end the third.
In the fourth, Meadows walked Cooper Hering on five pitches and then hung a 1-2 pitch to Alvord shortstop Lane Peace, who hit it over the 310-foot sign in left field for the Bulldogs’ only two runs.
“I left one up for Lane. He’s a good hitter and good player and he took advantage of it,” Meadows said. “Other than that, I had a good day.”
Meadows responded to the homer by retiring 11 of the next 13 batters he faced. He struck out eight in the final four innings, including punching out the side in the fifth and sixth innings.
Bartholomew had Alvord’s only other hit – a fifth-inning single.
“We were not putting the bat on the ball and putting pressure on them,” said Alvord coach Chris Staley. “We didn’t do a good enough job putting the ball in play.”
Defensively, Alvord (7-8, 0-1) committed seven errors, including four in the first two innings that led to a pair of early Paradise runs.
An errant pick-off throw by pitcher Cassidy Patterson after a leadoff walk to Jarret Holt set up Meadows for an RBI-double and a quick 1-0 lead.
Jarret Holt capitalized on an Alvord fielding error in the outfield in the second, driving in Corbin Holt with a single to right-center.
“Those are the things that have hurt us all year,” Staley said. “One or two errors and giving them four or five outs, you can’t do that against good teams.”
Paradise (11-3-1, 1-0) went up 3-0 in the third with Colton Meadows driving in Skylar Black. Colton Meadows went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs.
But after Peace’s homer narrowed the game to 3-2 in the fourth, Paradise held the slim lead until the bottom of the fifth.
After a leadoff single by Skylar Black, Paradise coach Mike Fehler went to playing small ball. Panther batters laid down three bunts – two for base hits and another that forced an error – around a Colton Meadows’ two-run single during a five-run inning that broke the game open.
“We were getting fooled on some off-speed pitches. I decided to take the bats out of their hands and change it up,” Fehler said. “We’ve been working on our small ball.”