ROGERS -- There were no first-game jitters for Dylan Qualls.
Qualls allowed one run in five innings and hit a two-run double to lead Rogers Heritage to a 5-4 victory over Fort Gibson, Okla., Thursday in the Best Sports Classic at Veterans Park. Fort Gibson scored three runs in the top of the seventh before Ben Pollock took over for Ryan Carlson and ended the game with a strikeout.
"That's Dylan Qualls, a senior stepping up and doing what he's supposed to do," Rogers Heritage coach Mitch Cameron said. "He's by far our leader. He threw strikes on the mound and got the big time hit with the double and two RBIs."
Fort Gibson could've had more than three in the seventh if not for a standout play by Logan Berens at second base. Fort Gibson had the bases loaded when Berens made a catch on a ball headed toward right field and threw quickly to first base to complete the double play.
"That broke all of their momentum," Cameron said. "They hit a line drive and Logan had the mindset to throw it."
Qualls struck out three and allowed one run before being replaced by Ryan Carlson, who struck out Jesse Rudd with the bases loaded in the sixth. Carlson had two hits, including a run-scoring double in the bottom of the sixth to increase the lead to 5-1 for Rogers Heritage. But he struggled on the mound in the seventh and Fort Gibson got to within 5-4 after consecutive wild pitches by Carlson.
Pollock then took over and got a called third strike to end the game.
Qualls put Rogers Heritage ahead 4-0 in the fourth inning with a two-out, two-run double over the center fielder's head. Qualls was thrown out hustling to third, but his clutch hit gave the War Eagles a cushion heading into the later innings.
Rogers Heritage took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a bases-loaded single by Berens, the No. 9 hitter. Fort Gibson starter Chandler Ladd was within a strike of getting out of the jam, but Berens singled sharply up the middle to bring home a run.
Fort Gibson 000 010 3 -- 4 7 3
Rogers Heritage 010 30X -- 5 10 2
C. Ladd and Abbott. Qualls, Carlson (6), Pollock (7) and Venable. W -- Qualls. L -- Ladd. HR-- None.Preps Basketball on 03/02/2018
Print Headline: Baseball: Qualls leads War Eagles to win in season-opener