An early lead almost collapsed for Rush Springs, but they held on against Cordell to advance 4-3 into the Panther Classic semifinals.
The Redskins (14-2) started the sixth inning with a four run lead, but back-to-back home runs took that down to just one as the Blue Devils fought back. Rush Springs, ranked seventh in Class 2A, held on with a three up, three down in the top of the seventh with reliever Holden Nichols on the mound.
Second baseman AJ Cox singled in the first to set up Rush Springs’ first run. Cox stole second before advancing to third on a wild pitch, leaving Braden Moreno with quick work. He dropped one just in front of Cordell left fielder Alec Pankhurst to bring in Cox.
The curveball was working for Rush Springs starter Josh Borski, who went on to pitch 5.2 innings with six strikeouts and one walk. The shootout left the Redskins with a chance to double their lead in the second.
James Harris put down a slow rolling bunt with Brad Foster on third, but Cordell were quick to react. Pitcher Micah Waters scooped it to Dalton Ball at the plate in time for the out. It would prove crucial as Rush Springs left the bases loaded when AJ Cox ground out at first to end the inning.
In spite of their defensive efforts, Cordell could not sort out Borski’s pitches for the vast majority of the game. Placement, not power, was his motif, and of the few pitches Blue Devils made contact with, most were placed right into an infielders’ glove.
Back to back doubles from leadoff Holden Nichols and Cox extended Rush Springs’ advantage in the bottom of the fourth. Aaron Morrow reached on a fielders’ choice before stealing second. Nichols’ hit hugged the left field line, leaving the speedy Morrow with a stand-up trip across home. Cox dropped one into right center to make it two in the fourth and a 3-0 Redskins lead for the game.