The No. 3 seeded Bulldogs got off to an impressive start in the first round of the Nevada County Fast Pitch playoffs Thursday, scoring five quick runs in the first inning, but so often in sports, it’s not how you start, but how you finish.
Facing Gold Country Automotive, the Bulldogs grabbed a big early lead but faltered late and Gold Country came from five runs down in the third to win, 9-8, and advance to the semifinals at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
The Bulldogs built their lead with a pair of home runs from Jeff Nye and a two-run jack from Jarrett Roenicke. Anthony Bracket and Brad MacKensie also added RBI hits to help build the lead.
Trailing 6-1 in the third inning, Gold Country started to chip away at the lead. Dillon Hadley scored in the third on a Matt Custer sac fly, then in the fourth Adam Custer brought two home with a hit.
Trailing 7-4 in the fifth, Gold Country got an RBI hit from Ray Saclolo and a two-RBI knock from Billy Hadley to tie the game.
Gold Country would score two more in the sixth to grab its first lead of the game. Adam Custer singled, Dain Warner sacrificed him over and Dillon Hadley drove him in. Dillon Hadley would later score on an error.
The Bulldogs notched a solo home run off the bat of Evan King, but that was it as they were ousted from the tourney.
Justin Nicholson got the win from the circle, going 6 1/3 innings and allowing just three runs.
Dirtbags 16, Rockwell 6, 4 innings
The Precision Pump Dirtbags nearly shot themselves in the foot with nine walks given up and three hit batters, but they overcame the walk-a-thon and thumped Rockwell Family Dental to advance in the Nevada County Fast Pitch playoffs.
Zach Littleton notched a three-run homer, and Donny Miller and Hunter Lloyd added RBI hits for the Dirtbags in the win.
The No. 2 seeded Dirtbags will play Gold Country Automotive at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Memorial Park.