April 7, 2014

Rush hit by late Roff runs in 3rd place loss


Rush Springs held on for six innings to come within touching distance of a third place finish, but Roff only needed one to take that away.

The No. 1 Class A team took the third place prize from the Panther Classic on Saturday with a 3-2 win off a walk-off single from right fielder CJ Johnson in the bottom of the seventh. It had followed a tying two-run homer.

In all six previous innings, Roff had base runners stranded by Rush Springs.

The Redskins took the lead in the top of the sixth as the result of some error-prone Roff fielding. Both Aaron Morrow and leadoff Holden Nichols reached on errors, and that set up third baseman Braydon Moreno. 

His hit down the right field line sent chalk dust flying as it just stayed fair to bring both runs home. On the current trend, it looked like enough. Rush Springs had kept Roff at bay through the use of two pitchers and some solid fielding.

Josh Borski went three shutout innings with one strikeout and just three hits let up before he was replaced on the Redskins mound by Morrow. He retired two, but faced more pressure as Roff showed their teeth yet never struck.

In the bottom of the fourth, back-to-back singles from Cade Carpenter and Royce Stephens put runners in scoring positions. Morrow saw Hunter Larsh ground out to Holden Nichols at short for the third out for one of many Redskin sighs of relief.

The same scenario greeted Morrow in the sixth. With Carpenter on third and the tying run Stephens on second, Larsh was once again at the plate with two down. He flew out to right, but there was a sense Rush Springs were living too dangerously.

Those fears were realized at the last possible moment. Zach Lewis was walked before Dalton Reed crushed one literally down the right field line. Questions of whether or not it was fair were raised for a moment, but the home run was granted and Roff were back in the game.

Andy Antonio followed that up with a single before CJ Johnson brought him around to win the game. A heartbreaking result for Rush Springs, but the top team in Class A ensured they did not leave the Panther Classic empty handed.

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