But as St. Vincent began to tire, the Indians mounted a comeback tying the game at 6-6 after six innings.
In the end, Crestview came out on top as Bryce Dolce scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning on the fifth Indian wild pitch of the game giving the Bulldogs a 7-6 win.
“It was a high school baseball game, I’ll say it that way,” Crestview coach Tim Gillis said. “Anthony was cruising along and he got a little bit tired there. He had a big pitch inning there in the sixth and he got to his pitch count numbers and I had to take him out.
“He just kind of held on.”
To say St. Vincent was masterful in the first half of the game would be no exaggeration. Through four innings he hadn’t allowed a hit and the only Choctaw base runner reached after striking out and the ball going to the backstop.
St. Vincent struck out six and only got to a three-ball count on one Indian batter during the impressive stretch.
While St. Vincent was taking care of things on the mound, the Bulldog batters were doing their best to make life miserable for Choctaw starting pitcher Dillon Rand.
With two out in the bottom of the first inning Joe Thomas started a Crestview rally with the first of three consecutive hits that led to three Bulldog runs.
Thomas reached on an infield single and moved to second base on a Rand wild pitch. Javen Shoemake was next with a single to left field scoring Thomas. Shoemake took second base when the Indians tried to throw Thomas out at home.
St. Vincent helped his own cause with a RBI single to right. Courtesy runner Kenya McRae took over on the bases for St. Vincent. McRae moved to second base on a wild pitch and later scored on a wild pitch.
Brady Vann led off the Bulldog second inning with a double. And, in what was a theme for the early part of the game, later scored on a Rand wild pitch.
Crestview upped the lead to 5-0 in the third when Shoemake reached on an error, stole second, took third on a ground out by Ke’Andre Edwards. Shoemake scored on, you guessed it, another wild pitch.
Rand was replaced on the mound by Kobe Riggs in the third inning and kept the Bulldogs on a short leash the rest of the way as Choctaw climbed back into the game.
St. Vincent walked Indian leadoff batter, Dom Williams in the top of the fifth inning. St. Vincent finally gave up a hit to Sam Duggan with one out in the fifth. Duggan’s hit scored Williams.
Crestview pushed the lead back to five runs in the bottom of the inning when Shoemake singled and later scored the fourth Bulldog run of the game on a wild pitch, this one by Riggs.
St. Vincent ran out of gas in the sixth inning with two outs, one run in and the bases loaded. Bryson Martin entered the game in relief of St. Vincent and was touched for two base hits and was unable to get out of the inning.
The Indians had two runners on base and four runs in when Brayden Ruschmeier got the call to put down the Indian uprising. Ruschmeier, who didn’t have much time to get loose, gave up a hit allowing Choctaw to score the tying run, before getting the final out of the inning.
The game was tied at 6-6 heading into the seventh inning. Ruschmeier retired the Indians in order in the top of the seventh giving the Bulldogs the opportunity for a walk off win.
“I really thought he threw the ball well after his first inning,” Gillis said of Ruschmeier’s performance. “I didn’t have the luxury of getting him hot because we had a long pitch inning.
“After that first inning he looked really good in the seventh.”
And that’s what happened as the theme of the game continued.
Dolce led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk and took second on a wild pitch. Dolce took third as Thomas singled with one out. The Indians intentionally walked Shoemake before Dolce scored on one last wild pitch with St. Vincent at the plate.
Ruschmeier picked up the win for Crestview. Riggs took the loss for Choctaw.
“They’ve got a good team, Gillis said of the Indians. “I don’t think they’ve lost but one game in about a month. So it was a quality to win for us.
“The had some wild pitches and passed balls that helped us, but it was a quality win for us. The bottom line is we’ve got to keep piling up wins if we want to get in the playoffs. It doesn’t matter who it’s against, wins are going to get us there.”