The Bulldogs' 22-21 win over the Delta Panthers Tuesday was the greatest team effort coach Kip Hafey said he has ever seen in all his years of baseball.
The game came down to a hard-fought seventh inning when the entire batting lineup for Moffat County High School was tested as they made up a six-run deficit.
The game was won the following inning when a junior hit his first home run of the season.
Junior Jon Bugay knocked a first-pitch, 400-foot left-center field grand slam to give the Bulldogs a three-run lead at the top of the eighth and senior pitcher Chris Field kept the Panthers at bay for the rest of the game, allowing just two runs.
The game means the Bulldogs advance to the second round of the district tournament Friday in Rifle when they face Montrose (11-9), who beat Glenwood Spring (8-1) Tuesday.
"It was the greatest game I have ever been part of," Hafey said. "Every player came through when they had to."
The Bulldogs (12-8) and Panthers battled back and forth to the bottom of the six inning when Delta (14-5) took the lead off of a three-run home run hit off a high outside fastball delivered by junior Jerod Estey. The home run off the pitch, which Hafey said most would not have been able to hit any other time Estey hurled it, put the Panthers in control of the game with six runs heading into the final inning.
This is when the Bulldogs would begin to shine at the plate.
Delta, ahead 18-12 at the top of the seventh, saw the Bulldogs hit five RBI doubles and one RBI single to tie the game. There was some controversy with what was nearly the Bulldogs' final batter.
Junior Tad Beherns finished the first trip through the line up. Down by one run and with two outs, Beherns thought better than to swing on a close pitch curve and stopped with a check swing.
Panthers argued it was the final out of the game while the umpire upheld his ruling, allowing the junior catcher to knock an RBI double on the next pitch he faced.
Berhern's RBI double kept the Bulldogs alive into extra innings and set up Bugay's game-winning grand slam home run in the top of the eighth.
The game extended three hours.
"We're just going to keep on doing what we have been," Hafey said. "We'll just keep going out playing ball and having fun."