The Wheaton Bulldogs downed Exeter 3-2 to earn the Class 1 District 6 baseball championship on Thursday, May 19. The victory at Joplin's Joe Becker Stadium marked the first time since 1985 that Wheaton had won a district baseball title.
The Bulldogs had to come from behind in this championship game. Exeter drew first blood, taking a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Tyler White led off with a double, followed by a Cody Stringer single. Brendan Rayburn delivered a two-RBI double with a two-strike count, and the Tigers had the early lead.
Wheaton manufactured runs one at a time in the comeback. In the bottom of the third inning, White's inside pitch sawed off Anthony Brattin. His ground ball trickled to first base, and the Tigers took the automatic out while allowing a run to score.
In the fifth frame, a muffed pickoff play allowed the Bulldogs to tie the score at 2-2.
With the score tied in the bottom of the seventh, Wheaton's Tyler Musick reached on an error, then Sean Goostree walked. Both runners advanced on a passed ball. Darren Medley's two-out RBI in the bottom of the seventh inning secured the win for Jason Webb's Bulldogs.
The pitching matchup of Exeter's Tyler White and Wheaton's Kyle Robbins did not disappoint as the two teams battled it out for the district championship.
"You have to give a bunch of credit to Robbins," said Exeter's Scott White. "He was tough, and once he realized he couldn't throw the fastball by us like he did earlier in the year, he started living with his off speed stuff and kept us off balance and guessing."
Tyler White never backed down on his part but was plagued by errors behind him.
"You cannot make seven errors and expect to beat most teams," said Coach White.
Wheaton (12-7) was scheduled to play Dora (23-1) on Monday afternoon but the game was postponed.