River Ridge/Scales Mound kept putting runners in scoring position in a 1A sectional semifinal baseball game against Forreston on May 22. They were finally rewarded in the bottom of the seventh inning.
An RBI single by Bennett Reese earned a 4-3 win. It was his third run batted in of the game and came from someone down in the order.
“We left guys on base all night, but were confident of getting a clutch hit,” RRSM coach Jeremy Knauer said. “It was the best high-school game I’ve been involved in seven years. It was great to watch.”
Forreston (24-8), had three home runs, but only one other hit. They also struck out 15 times against RR ace Tayden Patterson (7-1).
“Both teams had chances,” said Forreston coach Mike McClellan afterwards on radio station FM 102.1. “They came up with the hit and we didn’t.”
On the first pitch of the game, Chase Greenfield tagged a Patterson pitch 350 feet for a home run. Patterson came into the game only giving up 13 runs all season.
Hayden Singley started for Forreston and hit a batter to start off, but was the recipient of a 6-4-3 double play to keep the score at 1-0.
Singley helped his own cause with a solo homer to lead off the second inning. The Cardinals took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the third inning.
Meanwhile, Patterson had retired the last four (6-7-8-9) Cardinal batters.
River Ridge loaded the bases in the third inning with clean-up hitter Jared Underwood up. At catcher, Greenfield caught a foul tip off Underwood’s bat to keep RRSM scoreless.
A key out in that inning was Braedon Fyock pivoting from his shortstop position to throw a runner out at third.
RRSM did get on the scoreboard in the fourth inning on a RBI ground out by Reese, scoring Micah Knauer. At that point, Chase Greenfield took over on the mound for Singley.
Hunter Rogers made it to third after a walk, but was stranded to keep the score 2-1 after the top of the fifth.
For the fifth straight inning, RRSM’s lead-off hitter reached base. Patterson tied the game 2-2 with a RBI double to right center.
After a conference on the mound, McClellan took Greenfield out and replaced him with Fyock.
RRSM loaded the bases and took the lead the first time at 3-2 on a single by Reese. They had two runs, three hits and 3 LOB in that inning.
For the third time in the game, it was a lead-off homer for Forreston, with Chase Greenfield doing the honors again. He took the first pitch by Patterson and sailed it near the left-field pole where it stayed fair and 3-3 tie.
“Other than the home runs to Chase, I thought we did a nice job of keeping their top three batters off base,” Knauer said.
Fyock and Mitchell Heinz drew a pair of walks, but Patterson got Hunter Rogers looking on his 13th strikeout of the game.
After a 3-up, 3-down inning tossed by Fyock in the bottom of the sixth, Jacob Swanson singled to start off the seventh for Forreston. He was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Dylan Greenfield. Chase Greenfield was intentionally walked before Patterson retired the last batter.
“In the seventh, we needed to break through and score,” McClelland said. The home runs we had were great boosts, but we didn’t put any pressure on them.”
Singley (10-2) came back onto the pitching mound in the seventh with two runners on base and one out. He struck out the first batter he faced.
A wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third. With a 2-2 count on Reese, Singley initially thought he had whiffed him.
“One pitch away,” McClellan said. “I thought we might have had him on the 2-2 fast ball. It was a borderline call. That’s not why we lost. I thought the umpiring was outstanding tonight.”
Instead, Reese took the next pitch and lined it down the left-field line, scoring the winning run.
With Patterson nearing the end of his pitch count, McClelland was hoping the game went extra innings.
“If we could have only gotten back into the dugout and went to an eighth inning, I liked our chances,” he said.
RRSM have won 17 of their last 19 games. Forreston did beat them twice (12-1 and 11-4) in the regular season.
“Even after we got behind tonight, we were still playing our A game,” Knauer said. “In the other two games, we probably were playing at a D.”
RRSM (21-8) defeated Sterling Newman in the sectional final, 4-2 on Saturday for its second sectional title. Micah Knauer, son of the head coach, pitched a complete game against the Comets.