Centennial baseball coach Charlie Cerrone nodded in agreement as junior pitcher Casey Moses called his club “a team full of scrappers.”
There were plenty of players who fit that description Saturday while leading the Bulldogs to a crucial Northwest League victory.
Austin Nelson’s single to center field with two outs in the top of the seventh inning scored Adrian Rodriguez for the go-ahead run, Moses scattered six hits in a complete game, and Centennial escaped with a 5-4 win at Faith Lutheran.
“It’s a big win the way we won it, but also because we earned a split with a team we already lost to in division play,” Cerrone said. “We started the year inexperienced, but our kids have just started to come around. They’re a close-knit group of kids, and they do a good job of battling for each other.”
Centennial (7-8, 4-3 Northwest) won its fourth straight game while avenging a 12-7 home loss to Faith Lutheran on March 24.
Moses, a junior right-hander, was working on a one-hit shutout entering the sixth. But that’s when the Crusaders (7-8, 4-2) scored four runs to tie the game after Centennial scored four runs in the top half of the inning.
Rodriguez legged out an infield single with one out in the top of the seventh before advancing to second on a groundout by Keith Krueger. Rodriguez then dove home on Nelson’s game-winning hit to beat the throw and give Centennial a 5-4 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, Faith Lutheran put the potential tying run on second base with two outs, but Moses struck out Tyler Trageton on a full count to end the game.
“We don’t have very big names, but we play hard and play hard every inning,” said Moses, who also went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. “We try to win every inning, and once we do that, we can win a lot of games.”
Moses struck out 11, none more important than the final out.
“We decided we were going to win or lose the game with him because he was going to compete to the end, so that’s what we did,” Cerrone said.
Nelson went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs for Centennial. Rodriguez, the team’s No. 9 hitter, was 2-for-3 with two runs.
Brenden Meyer (two RBIs) and J.B. Eary (one RBI) both went 2-for-3 for Faith Lutheran, and Brett Yee tripled and scored a run.
While Faith Lutheran had a five-game winning streak snapped, Centennial continued to dig itself out of an 0-3 start in a league that could see up to seven teams fight for four Sunset Region playoff spots.
“We faced adversity early, so we’re able to come back and we’re used to it,” Moses said. “We’ve still got a long way to go, we have to support each other and everyone has to do their individual jobs.”