The best things happened in the second inning, though, when Northeast starter Jared Henfrey retired the first batter he faced. By the time the Rebels recorded the second out they trailed 6-0.
Jacob Pisarik reached on a bunt single. The throw was close, but on the inside of the line, and Dickey couldn’t handle it cleanly at first base. Pisarik then stole second, again safe on a close play as Northeast had trouble handling the ball.
After Spencer Drahos walked, Luke Hansen hit a high chopper over Dickey’s head and into right field, scoring Pisarik and sending Drahos to third. It also sent Howe to the mound to take out Henfrey and call on Dickey, who pitched two complete-game masterpieces in the previous eight days. The magic wasn’t there this time.
Noah Dahlstrom greeted him with a bunt single that scored a run, and Ryan made it 4-0 with an RBI double. The Mustangs made it 5-0 when Eldred couldn’t connect on a suicide squeeze but there was no one to take catcher Zach Scott’s throw to third base. It went into left field, allowing Dahlstrom to score. Eldred wrapped up the five-run outburst with a soft single to right field that scored Ryan.
“You’ll have that in baseball,” Marcucci said. “It’s unpredictable. You’ll get an inning that’s yours; you’ll get an inning that’s not yours. That was their inning. Take it away it’s a five-nothing game and a lot closer than it looks. One inning in baseball will kill you.”
Elliott said: “It’s a big deal; I don’t know what else to say. It’s a big deal to get them put down and get us going so we relax a bit. … It’s really important to get those runs early so our bats relax a bit and we were able to do some good things at the plate.”