Speedy Dowdy steals win for Complex

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ST. CROIX - Ajani Dowdy was almost too eager to score the winning run Friday.

The St. Croix Educational Complex senior had displayed his impressive speed earlier in the night. He dived into third for a triple in his first appearance and stole second base after his second at-bat against island rival Central High (1-5).

Dowdy led off in the bottom of the sixth and final inning with the score tied 7-7. He was walked and then nearly picked off at first on what Complex coach Ellerton Maynard described as a "bonehead situation."

Maynard's senior speedster atoned for the mishap by stealing second and third, and added more dirt to the front of his uniform as he dived home on a passed ball to lift the Barracudas to an 8-7 win at D.C. Canegata Ballpark.

"I just wanted to win," Dowdy said. "My main attribute is my speed, so I'm using my speed to help my team win the ball game."

In a sloppy game that saw 10 errors between the teams and a slew of wild pitches and passed balls, Complex (5-1) managed to respond to every bit of momentum the Caribs tried to build off.

Complex led 6-4 through four innings, but Central took a 7-6 lead in the top of the fifth. Central freshman Conroy Samuel III smacked a grounder at junior shortstop Jose Martinez with the bases loaded. Martinez's throw would have made it in time for the third out, but it was well off the mark and two runners scored to put the Caribs ahead.

The Barracudas committed an error in innings two through five to keep Central in the game. Meanwhile, the Caribs committed six errors and gave up two runs on passed balls.

"The team is a really shaky team," Central sophomore DeOndre Simmonds said. "Here and there we have shaky players, so we've just got to practice more. To me, they have a real better team than us, so we can't do anything about that."

Neither team's starting pitcher - junior Stephan Walwyn (COM) and senior Ashante Lawrence (CHS) - went further than the third inning.

Complex senior reliever Ian Lewis proved to be an impact hurler. Lewis took the mound with one out in the fifth inning and two runners on before the shortstop's throwing error. With a clean slate in the top of the sixth, he struck out the side and had all three batters swinging at fastballs for outs.

"I was thinking, 'throw strikes and be consistent, keep the velocity good and keep them off balance,' " Lewis said. "Most of them are either juniors, sophomores or freshmen, so I knew I could just go after them with the fastball."

"Ian did a hell of a job," Maynard said. "I mean, he came up real big in coming in and doing what he's supposed to do, shutting the guys down. He gave us a real big effort."

The regular season series continues at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Canegata Ballpark.

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