Dillon Cubs fall in opener in Bitterroot

M.P. Regan
Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Dillon Cubs pitching proved excellent during their season-opening road doubleheader against the Bitterroot Bucs on Sunday.

Their defense appeared solid.

And the scoreboard looked good, too—at least until the last inning of both games.

The Bucs swept the Cubs, winning 5-4 and 2-1, with the final innings providing the winning margins at their home field in Florence.

“We had the lead in the seventh in the first game,” said Cubs Head Coach Greg Fitzgerald of the opener of the doubleheader scheduled as two seven-inning games.

“And we had the lead in the fifth in the second game,” said Fitzgerald of a nightcap that got cut two innings short by rainfall.

“But we just couldn’t quite pull through.”

The Cubs did almost everything a team has to do to pull off a doubleheaders sweep.

“We had really good pitching. I’m really proud of our guys who got on the mound,” said Fitzgerald, who started Connor Curnow in the first game on the bump, where he was relieved by 13-year-old Sawyer Tackett, who gave way in the final inning to Anthony Macias—the southpaw pitching for the first time in a game since he suffered a serious arm injury two years ago.

“All three of them pitched very well,” said Fitzgerald, who is managing his pitchers on a strict low-pitch-count regimen during the early weeks of the season to help ease their arms into the new campaign.

The team’s starting catcher who emerged last season as also one of its best pitchers, Cole Pulliam took to the mound for the first three innings in game two Sunday. Then Tyler Lagunas took over for the next two innings—which turned out to be the last two innings when a rain delay proved permanent, ending the game after just five frames.

“Those were our first games of the season, and we only gave up seven runs. Those were the seventh and eight games for the Bucs,” noted Fitzgerald, who got every player on his roster into the field and up to the plate for an at-bat on Sunday.

“So, I’m really proud of how well our pitchers threw and how well we played defense behind them. Unfortunately, we didn’t hit the ball very well,” said Fitzgerald, echoing the lament of many baseball managers early in the season when hitters are still trying to get back their timing.

“I think we all know we have to get better and especially hit the ball better. But for it being the first couple games out, I was really proud of their effort. It was a good learning experience.”

Fitzgerald said the Bucs, who won their way deep into both the 2019 and 2020 State A Legion baseball tourneys, provided a good measuring stick for his promising Cubs team to gauge itself with—and we’ll do so again, shortly.

“We get to see the Bucs again in two weeks in Dillon, so we’ll see how far we’ve come then.”

Next up for the Cubs, a visit from a stranger. This weekend, the Cubs will host the Eagles Baseball Club.

“It’s a high school travel team. I don’t know much about them. They called earlier this year and were looking for games, and our schedule worked out to play them,” explained Fitzgerald of the team Dillon will host at Cubs Field in Ray Lynch Park for a doubleheader of seven-inning games, starting at noon on Sunday.