HILLSBORO — The Dawson Bulldogs have one game of a best-of-three playoff series in the bag, but you wouldn’t know it from talking to the team.

Following Dawson’s 6-3 bi-district win over Valley Mills Saturday, the Bulldogs shunned away from some of the swagger they flashed a year ago following a Game 1 win over Axtell — a first-round series they ended up losing.

“It means nothing, that’s what I’m going to say,” Dawson coach Brian Gaylor said. “That’s based on us right now. That’s one game. It doesn’t count for anything.”

But in actuality, Dawson has a key 1-0 series lead over a team that advanced to the state tournament in 2005. A few big hits translated into two key rallies that were enough to hand Dawson the victory.

Dawson (23-3) took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first when Brett McCrory drove in Michael and Bubba Medrano with a double to right field.

Valley Mills added one in the second but Dawson negated it in the fifth when Bubba Medrano’s double plated Cody Golden for a 3-1 advantage.

The Eagles (11-8) tied up the game in the bottom of the fifth, as Jeff Posten’s hit a two-out, two-RBI double off Bulldog starter Michael Medrano.

But Wesley McCulloch managed to get an even bigger two-out hit, when his single in the sixth scored Dylan Nesmith and Jordan Hill to put the Bulldogs up for good. Jerome Tennison accounted for an insurance run when he doubled to score Bubba Medrano in the seventh.

“In the playoffs that’s what you look for because pitching’s going to be good,” Gaylor said of the batting. “Jerome’s double was huge. Getting that third extra run means so much.”

The Bulldogs closed out the game emphatically in the bottom of the seventh, when Michael Medrano fielded a comebacker by Posten and fired it to his brother at second, passed it on to McCrory at first to complete the 1-6-3 game-ending double play.

“I messed up there the play before, and what a way to redeem myself, to come back and get a double play to end the game,” Bubba Medrano said. “We just tried to come out and do what we do best at our school — play baseball.”

Michael Medrano turned in another dominating outing, improving to 11-0 on the season as he struck out 13 batters in a complete game six-hitter. The Navarro College signee walked one while allowing two earned runs.

“Michael had an absolutely incredible ballgame,” Gaylor said. “Just a tremendous job. He didn’t give in to them. He threw his pitches when he wanted to throw his pitches.”

Bubba Medrano led all hitters with a 3-for-4 effort, while Michael Medrano, McCulloch and Tennison each went 1-for-3 and Jordan Hill went 1-for-2.

Since the Eagles’ No. 2 pitcher, Brandon Wilson, started Game 1, Gaylor expects No. 1 pitcher Michael Allen to start Game 2 against Bubba Medrano (5-0).

“I’m assuming we’re going to see (Allen),” Gaylor said. “My assumption is because he threw Tuesday, he’s going to have to throw today. We have to go out with the same mindset we had right here, swinging the bats and being aggressive.”

And by not dwelling too much on what they did in Game 1.

“Last year we came out and beat Axtell on a run-rule and we kind of got big heads,” Bubba Medrano said. “I think if we keep playing close games like this, we’ll understand that nothing comes easy and we’ve got to work hard for it.”

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Joel Weckerly may be contacted via e-mail at jweckerly@corsicanadailysun.com

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Region III-1A Bi-district

Game 1

Dawson 6, Valley Mills 3

V. Mills 200 012 1 — 6 8 2

Dawson 010 020 0 — 3 6 0

WP — Michael Medrano (11-0, 13 Ks). LP — Vannatta (n/a).

Leading Hitters — VM: Travis Curlee 1-2 (run), Jeff Posten 1-4 (2B, 2 RBI), Brandon Wilson 1-2 (run). D: Bubba Medrano 3-4 (2 2B, 2 runs, RBI), Jordan Hill 1-2 (run), Brett McCrory 1-4 (2B, 2 RBI), Jerome Tennison 1-3 (2B, RBI), Wesley McCulloch 1-3 (2 RBI).

Records: Valley Mills (11-8), Dawson (23-3).

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