CRESTVIEW — There's just something about the Crestview High School baseball team.
Call them Destiny's Darlings or simply determined, but the Bulldogs just find a way to win.
Crestview was up to its familiar tricks again Wednesday night as the Bulldogs hosted Tate in the Class 6A region quarterfinals. Crestview scored an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth inning and Roman Donofro threw a complete game shutout in a 1-0 win.
The Bulldogs (22-5) will host Mosley, a 5-1 winner over Pace, in the region semifinals Tuesday at 7 p.m.
"We knew it was going to be a war," Bulldog coach Tim Gillis said. "They are a well-coached team with a lot of tradition.
"I'm so proud of these guys. They hung in there and battled and kept fighting. It wasn't pretty a lot of times, but that's the way it happens in playoff baseball."
Donofro struck out 10 Aggie batters and walked two while giving up just five hits. He also swung a pretty good bat connecting on two of Crestview's four hits.
And it was courtesy runner Drew Graham, who was running for Donofro in the fifth inning, that scored the games only run.
Donofro led off the fifth inning with a single that found a hole between Aggie third baseman Matt Rickard and shortstop Mason Fryman. Graham took over on the base paths for Donofro and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jimmy Croussore.
With first base open, Tate (21-7) elected to walk Dakota Dean. Tyler Henderson was next and drove the ball to deep center field, but it was caught for the second out of the inning.
Freshman Corey Armstrong fell behind in the count one ball and two strikes before grounding to Rickard at third. Rickard's throw to first was low and in the dirt allowing Armstrong to reach safely and Graham to score from second base.
As good as Donofro was against the Aggies, he couldn't have won the game alone. Once again the Bulldog defense rose to the occasion making all of the routine plays as well as some not so routine plays.
Crestview right fielder Justin Rebholz made the defensive play of the game in the top of the fourth inning. With two outs and a runner on second base, Rickard sent a sinking line drive into shallow right-center field.
Rebholz did his best belly flop as he made the diving catch to end the Aggie threat.
"I knew there was a runner on base that could have scored," Rebholz said. "When the ball went up, I knew I had to do it to help my team."
Gillis couldn't express just how big the catch was by Rebholz.
"It was absolutely an unbelievable play," he said. "He's such a great kid. He's a warrior.
"He's been a winner his whole life. That play saved us."
Aggie pitcher J.T. Granat took the hard luck loss. Granat allowed the two hits to Donofro and one hit to Rebholz and Dean. Granat struck out seven Bulldog batters while allowing just one walk, but the unearned run did him and the Aggies in.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.