Need a word to describe the Pekin baseball team? Probably the best is resilient.
For the third straight week, the Dragons bounced back from a crushing defeat to play an excellent game against the same Mid-Illini Conference team.
Pekin beat visiting Metamora 3-2 Wednesday at Harry Anderson Field in a well-played game that lasted barely more than an hour. Two days earlier, Metamora defeated Pekin 8-0 on a day the visiting Dragons made seven errors and had only one hit.
Morton defeated Pekin 13-0 on April 23. After that run-rule win at home, the Potters needed to score twice in the top of the seventh inning to beat Pekin 4-2 on the road April 25.
Washington clobbered Pekin 14-2 on April 30. Pekin rebounded from that run-rule loss to beat Washington 2-1 on May 2. Each team won on the road.
“I guess you can look at that pattern two ways,” said Pekin coach Larry Davis. “Either we need to be mentally tougher to play good games back to back, or this team really can focus on winning after a losing a bad game.”
Nathan Righi was in focus Wednesday on the mound and at the plate for the Dragons (11-11, 5-7).
The junior right-hander threw a complete-game three-hitter with 15 strikeouts and two walks, and he hit a game-winning two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning after Metamora (14-15, 3-9) had taken a 2-1 lead in the top of the inning.
“Nathan clobbered the ball on his homer. It easily cleared the fence in left field,” Davis said.
Cole Russell led off the inning with a walk. Righi took a strike, then got the bunt sign from Davis, who coaches third base.
The pitch went in the dirt and got by the Metamora catcher, allowing Russell to take second.
With the bunt off, Righi drove the next pitch from losing pitcher Turner Mann for a home run.
“Would I have kept the bunt on without the passed ball? I don’t know,” Davis said. “We wanted to get Cole into scoring position.”
Righi was able to keep pitching despite posting strikeouts on 15 of 21 outs. He finished with 107 pitches. Had the final Metamora batter gotten on base, Righi would have had to leave the mound because he had exceeded the 105-pitch limit.
“I would have brought in Jon Kuethe if Righi had to come out. Jon has been throwing the ball well,” Davis said.
The Dragons made two errors behind Righi, who allowed one earned run.
Pekin scored its first run in the fifth on a leadoff double by Braden Lavin, sacrifice bunt by Bryson Swfit and a two-out RBI single by Michael Ellwanger. The Dragons had only four hits.
Pekin played host Thursday to non-conference rival Tremont, the Heart of Illinois Conference champion.
Steve Stein can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.