Wildcats Drop Baseball Thriller To Staunton River, 8-7

By: 
Jonathan Schwab

Tuesday, April 18 – Despite nearly erasing a four-run deficit in the seventh inning, the Rockbridge County High School baseball team suffered an 8-7 loss to Blue Ridge District rival Staunton River when the game ended on a questionable call on Tuesday in Lexington.

The Wildcats (6-4 overall, 2-2 district) cut the lead to one in the seventh when Luke Ackerman singled with a fly ball to center field to bring home Brandon Minter. Alex Balisteri then hit a hard grounder to right field, and pinch runner Daniel Sorrells went for third and was called out after the third baseman made the catch. Sorrells, normally in the starting lineup, was restricted to base running this game due to a finger injury suffered in shop class.

The Golden Eagles (7-3, 3-2) jumped ahead early in Tuesday’s game. SR’s Josh Thomas hit a line drive to center field to drive in two runs in the first inning, and a fly ball to left field by Eddie Bale drove in Nathan Cutler to put SR up 3-0.

In the bottom of the second, the Wildcats loaded the bases, with Dustin Mays walking and Minter and Josh Thomas hitting singles. Joshua Lawhorne hit the ball over the pitcher to to drive in Mays, and Minter ran home on a wild pitch to cut the lead to 3-2. SR scored in the fourth when Cutler avoided the tag to reach home plate.

The Wildcats tied the game at 4-4 in the fifth, with Lawhorne scoring on a groundout and Noah Ramsey’s line drive to center field bringing home Ty Bennett.

The Eagles responded with three runs in the sixth, and a double to left field by Koby Karnes brought in Colin Bates to put SR up 8-4 in the seventh.

In the bottom of the seventh, Reeves Whitmore and Ramsey hit singles, and Whitmore ran home on a wild pitch. Cody Bartley then put the ball in play, and the Eagles ran down Ramsey, but Bartley ran the bases and scored after an overthrown ball to third base. Minter then doubled, setting up Ackerman’s RBI and the final play.

On the mound for RC, Whitmore pitched the first five innings, striking out four and allowing seven hits and one walk. Minter and Bennett each pitched an inning of relief for the Wildcats. For SR, Cutler pitched the first five innings for the win, and Brock Porter pitched the final two innings for the save.

The Wildcats will return to action on Thursday when they play host to nondistrict foe Fort Defiance at 5 p.m.

For the full story and photos from this week’s action, please see our April 26 newspaper. Coverage of last week’s games will be in this Wednesday’s paper.

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