Keegan Dale broke up a tied score with an RBI single in the top of the seventh inning, and the San Luis Obispo Blues overcame a grueling traveling schedule to hold on and win 6-5 over the Wichita Prospects on Tuesday afternoon in opening the 78th annual National Baseball Congress World Series at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita, Kan.
With the score tied at 3-all, Dale singled in Tanner Witt to spark a three-run rally in the seventh. The Blues would not surrender the lead, despite the Prospects scoring two runs in the final inning.
The Blues (35-16) were happy to get the win in their first World Series appearance since 2006. Manager Chal Fanning said a group of his players didn’t get to Wichita until 3 a.m. Tuesday, while Austin Grisham, who plays for Eastern Kentucky, made a 12-hour drive from his hometown of Louisville, Ky., and arrived shortly before game time.
But Fanning said his players are now settled and ready to continue the double-elimination national collegiate baseball tournament.
“Considering the factors of traveling,” he said, “we’ll take the victory.”
Taylor Anderson went 2 for 4 with two RBI and pitcher Chad Girodo got the win in relief after throwing six strikeouts in three innings for the Blues, who will continue their tournament run Thursday against the Greeley (Colo.) Grays.
Girodo came on in the sixth to relieve starter Will Cox, who had four strikeouts and gave up one earned run. Girodo allowed two hits, one earned run and no walks, as 31 of his 34 pitches were strikes.
“That was probably the tipping point coming in the sixth,” Fanning said of Girodo. “If he didn’t come in and wasn’t sharp, who knows what the game would have resulted in.”
Witt, Brandon Carr and Cody Dufrene produced two hits apiece for the Blues, with Carr singling in a run. Former Mission Prep and Cuesta College standout Alex Detz also had an RBI.