FULTON | When Jason Dorshorst rolled the dice with Ryan Klikus against Washington Township in the sectional, it came up seven.
Saturday versus Elkhart Christian, it was snake eyes.
Klikus was touched up for five runs in 1 1/3 innings as the Eagles (21-7) overcame a Joe Dougherty grand slam, then held off the Cherokees 6-5 at the Class A Caston Regional.
"I have no regrets; I'm not going to stand here and second guess. I'd do it every time," Dorshorst said. "It worked against Washington Township, so it goes both ways."
Dougherty staked Morgan to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first, homering to left center off Tanner DuComb, Elkhart Christian's No. 2 pitcher.
"It felt great," Dougherty said. "I definitely felt we were in a good position, but you've still got to go out and keep executing. I probably had more confidence in Ryan than most of the guys, especially after the Washington Township game."
Tanner Watson homered on the first pitch of the bottom of the first. Klikus escaped further damage, but not in the second. Caleb Stayton doubled in two runs to chase him. Dougherty came on and was touched for a Kenny Bearss single that eluded a diving Austin Porter, who was pulled in at third. Bearss scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-4. It was the last run the Eagles would get, as Dougherty blanked them over the next innings.
"Joe kept us in it," Dorshorst said.
Elkhart Christian went to Stayton, its ace, to start the third, and he matched Dougherty, whose two-out single to right made it 6-5 in the fifth.
"He was a good pitcher," Dougherty said. "He was probably around my velocity."
Morgan had a golden opportunity to pull even in the seventh. Adam Rettinger and Porter singled to start the inning, but Will Swisher popped up a sacrifice attempt before Jake Koselke and Dougherty struck out.
"I liked our chances there," Dorshorst said. "It was an odd situation. I doubt I've asked Will to bunt all season. He knew what he had to do and we didn't execute, but you can't blame him because the guys behind him didn't execute either."
The Cherokees have just four seniors (Dougherty, Klikus, Swisher and Porter), though all played key roles in a revival that included back-to-back sectional titles.
"They're the ones who built it," Dorshorst said. "They were my original group. I had them as middle schoolers. It's an emotional day. I'm going to miss all four. They did their job, making Morgan baseball into something. I told the young guys it's their job to keep it there."
"I'm proud of what we've done the past two, three, four years. It was really important for the young guys to see these games, to have this experience, so they can continue to build the program."