CRESTVIEW — An opportunistic Crestview baseball team took advantage of five Niceville errors Tuesday night as the Bulldogs beat the Eagles 6-3 in District 2-6A play. Crestview made each of the five Niceville miscues count as all six of the Bulldog runs were unearned. But whether earned or unearned, all the runs counted the same and Crestview coach Tim Gillis wasn't going to complain.
CRESTVIEW — An opportunistic Crestview baseball team took advantage of five Niceville errors Tuesday night as the Bulldogs beat the Eagles 6-3 in District 2-6A play.
Crestview made each of the five Niceville miscues count as all six of the Bulldog runs were unearned.
But whether earned or unearned, all the runs counted the same and Crestview coach Tim Gillis wasn't going to complain.
"We just fought, and that's what it's going to be every time you step into the district," he said. "No doubt about it.
"They don't ask you about unearned runs at the end of the year so we'll take them."
Niceville (1-1, 1-1) jumped to a quick lead rallying for two runs in the top of the first inning with two outs.
Tanner Zant got things started with a single off Crestview pitcher Roman Donofro. Nick Junger drew a walk in front of a Drew Frederic triple that cleared the bases.
The Eagles made it 3-0 in the top of the third when Tyler Kinard doubled to lead off the inning and Elliott Cary moved reached on a bunt single moving Kinard to third.
Kinard scored on a wild pitch with Zant at the plate.
Cary's bunt single and Kinard's run would be the last hit and score for Niceville as Donofro buckled down on his way to a complete game win.
"He kind of hung in there after a shaky start and he just kept battling," Gillis said. "He's a tough guy.
"We scrapped together a couple of runs and you've got to give their guy (Junger) credit. He was a warrior out there."
While Niceville got to Donofro early the Bulldog batters shook off a shaky start against Junger to mount the comeback. But the Eagle defense did have a helping hand in things.
Tate Sweatt led off the Crestview third inning with a walk and moved to third on a Niceville error. He later scored on a Junger wild pitch to cut the Eagle lead to 3-1.
Three errors by the Eagles led to four Crestview (2-1, 1-1) runs in the fourth inning as the Bulldogs moved in front 5-3.
Austin Armstrong and Tyler Henderson picked up the first Crestview hits off Junger in the fourth. Henderson's single to left field scored Justin Rebholz, who was running for Armstrong and Justin Abdo, who reached on an error.
A few minutes after helping the Bulldogs with his bat Henderson showed off his defensive side of the game in the top of the fifth inning.
With one out and Carey on third base, Junger lifted a fly ball to Henderson in centerfield. Henderson timed his catch perfectly and delivered a strike to Armstrong at the plate to gun down Carey and complete the inning-ending double play.
Crestview added an insurance run with more help from the Eagles in the sixth. Sweatt led off the inning with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Abdo and scored as Dakota Dean reached on an error.
Niceville coach Joe Nedoroscik had no excuses for his team.
"Six unearned runs -- the pitcher did his job, but we just didn't back him up," he said. "When you give a team six outs in an inning it will come back and get you."
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524