BONNE TERRE — Senior Justin Ruby made timely pitches to work around five walks and four defensive errors, and the North County baseball team posted its first victory of the season on Wednesday.
Third baseman Garrett Coffman delivered a key two-run single during an eventful third inning, and the Raiders held off visiting De Soto 4-2 despite stranding 12 runners on base.
Eight different players singled as the Raiders (1-1) outhit the Dragons 8-4 overall. Ruby, who aided his own cause by reaching base three times, notched five strikeouts and allowed one earned run while going the distance.
De Soto (1-2) pounced for a 2-0 lead in the top of the third. Kaden Lowry reached on an error and Nick Richman walked before clean-up batter Luke Dennis ripped a two-run double that was briefly misjudged in left field.
North County promptly answered by sending eight batters to the plate in the home half against Dragons starter Jake Patzner. Levi Moss and catcher Kaleb Warden set the table with hits, and Ruby walked to load the bases.
Ryan Gibson’s ground out brought Moss home, and Coffman put the Raiders ahead 3-2 with a solid line drive to left-center before crossing the plate on a mishandled ground ball near second base.
The next four frames featured no scoring, but not without excitement as both teams wasted premium opportunities.
De Soto reliever Brandon Fluegge escaped the fourth inning unscathed after yielding singles to Eric Thompson, Jon Stabenow and Ruby. North County also left the bases loaded in the sixth.
The Raiders had shining defensive moments amidst their mistakes, including a pair of double plays. A diving catch by first baseman Drew Rhodes erased a potential sacrifice bunt with two runners in motion during the fourth.
Warden started a rundown that retired a trailing runner between first and second before Dominic Bays could sprint across home plate in the sixth. A diving grab to his left by second baseman Brad Bess ended the game.
Rhodes and Gibson added singles for the Raiders. Bays finished 2-for-3 to pace De Soto, which dropped a 12-0 decision to Farmington on Tuesday.
De Soto 002 000 0 – 2 4 2
North County 004 000 x – 4 8 4
WP – Justin Ruby 7ip 2r 1er 4h 5k 5bb 1hp.
LP – Jake Patzner 3ip 4r 3er 3h 2k 3bb.
De Soto – Dominic Bays 2-3, Luke Dennis 1-3, Kaden Lowry 1-4. 2b – Dennis.
North County – Justin Ruby 1-2, Drew Rhodes 1-2, Eric Thompson 1-3, Jon Stabenow 1-3, Kaleb Warden 1-3, Garrett Coffman 1-3, Levi Moss 1-4, Ryan Gibson 1-4.