DUBOIS — Finally.
When senior Landon Gutgsell put the bat on the ball and brought home junior Aidan Dodd, it washed away the tough losses Northeast Dubois had tasted prior to Saturday. The Jeeps (1-6) had lost three games by one run — meaning this could've happened before their 13-3 run-rule of Paoli, but they got the monkey off their back in major fashion.
"I've got an ulcer right now, but I don't know if the monkey left it or not," Jeeps coach Luke Woolems said. "It feels good. Paoli threw a good pitcher today (senior Bladen Patton) and we had to work to knock him out of the game, but finally got it done."
"We came into the game just whatever had to be done to get a win," said senior Colby Pieper, who had a solo home run in the bottom of the first.
The Jeeps entered the bottom of the fifth trailing, 3-1, but played smallball to tie it. Pieper scored the first run of the inning on a groundout from fellow senior Bryce Merkel, then another senior, Aden Thewes, grounded out to bring home senior Eli Freyberger for a tied game, 3-3, with two outs.
What an unfolded afterward was one massive two-out rally. Gutgsell doubled in Dodd — the first time he drove him in the fifth. That gave the Jeeps the lead for good as Patton was lifted for sophomore Trey Rominger, who brought in Patton on a two-run homer in the top of the third.
Base knocks and passed balls just kept the line moving during the 12-run explosion.
"You see something different in this game every day," Woolems said. "Nothing really surprises me. But our kids are capable of that, they just have to hit their stride a little bit."
"We just needed to have better plate discipline, and all of our guys started doing their jobs and just getting on base here and there and taking walks when we had them (and) got it done," Pieper said.
Things didn't go the Jeeps' way in the bottom of the third nor the bottom of the fourth. They had runners on first and second with nobody out in the third, loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth, but scored neither time.
"Bladen pitched a really good game, and we had a couple really good at-bats in the fourth that I thought wore him down a little bit, and he kind of hit the wall," Woolems said.
Woolems told The Herald after Friday's 9-0 loss to Jasper about the importance of being locked in for this one because it was going to be a different environment and it wasn't against a county rival.
He said it would be a matter of the players taking themselves and their season seriously that they got to be mentally ready to play, which he thought they did a good job of. Woolems added that Northeast Dubois also had a morning jog that he thought helped them get ready.
Sometimes in sports, it only takes one win to fuel a team, and the Jeeps will try to keep this going Monday at Orleans.
"I think this is just the start," Pieper said. "I think we've got a really good team right now, and we'll do whatever it is to keep going."
"We'll try to get all the mileage we can out of it, but we think we've got a good baseball team," Woolems said. "I told them the other day, I said, 'You're the best 0-6 team in the state,' and I truly believe that. (It's) just a matter of keeping after it, trusting the process."