LITHIA — When they heard the familiar crack of bat meeting 90-something mph fastball, Scott Dubrule made a dash for first base and Jarred Rondeau took off for home.
With the teams locked in a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fifth inning, Newsome needed to seize on this rare opportunity to score against Durant ace Tyler Danish.
The Wolves finally caught the break they were looking for.
Durant committed an error on the play, Dubrule and Rondeau made it in safely and Newsome scored the only run it needed to complete its improbable regular-season sweep of District 8A-7’s top team Tuesday night.
“I was going on contact,” Rondeau said. “I saw (Dubrule) hit it and I heard people yelling, ‘Go, go, go’ and I started running home.”
Ryan Tauscher pitched a four-hit complete game for the Wolves, outdueling Danish in another one of those low-scoring contests that have come to define their district.
Newsome (13-5), which moved into a tie for the top seed with Durant and Alonso, has almost completed its climb from worst to first after finishing the 2011-12 regular season in last place.
Nothing about it has been easy, especially for a Wolves team that entered Tuesday having lost three of its past five — Newsome had been reeling a bit since its 8-1 win over Durant on March 1.
So Tauscher took the mound knowing there was little margin for error against Danish, who entered the game having allowed only four runs — all of them unearned — this year and leading the county in strikeouts.
“We were all a little nervous going into it,” said Tauscher, a 6-foot-3 senior lefty. “We know (Danish) is a good pitcher and we’d have to manufacture runs somehow.”
After Danish held Newsome to one hit through four, the Wolves’ offense finally gave Tauscher some support.
Jake Gagain started off the fifth with a single to shortstop and managed to beat the throw to first. That brought in Rondeau as a pinch runner for the senior catcher.
Rondeau stole second and moved to third when Daulton Donini grounded out. Cody Rector drew Danish’s only walk on the next at-bat, bringing up another freshman — Dubrule.
Dubrule, who grounded out in his previous at-bat in the third, said he just wanted to get a piece of Danish’s pitch in hopes that the Cougars might make a costly error.
“I just tried to put the ball into play,” Dubrule said.
Durant’s second baseman bobbled the ball on what seemed like a routine play, and Newsome’s freshman duo — both 5-foot-6 and weighing a combined 265 pounds — turned on their speed for the winning run.
“We knew it was going to be a low-scoring game with both aces on the mound,” Newsome coach Bill Highsmith said. “We’re just lucky we came out on top.”