Jeff Cali Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
The Roff Tigers are getting this giant-killer thing down pat.
Just days after snapping fall baseball juggernaut Dale’s nine-game winning streak with a huge 5-1 road victory, the Tigers brought Byng’s string of 10 consecutive victories to start the season to an end with a tense 4-3 victory in Friday’s late semifinal game at the 34th Annual Roff Fall Tournament.
Roff, which started the season losing three of its first four games, improved to 7-4 on the year.
“Right now, that’s not really what we’re focusing on. We just want to get better every day,” Roff head coach Ead Simon said of his streak-stoppers. “When we started off, we were absolutely brutal. The first week of the season, we were bad baseball players. We were better tonight.”
In other action in Roff on Friday, Asher shut out Colbert 5-0 in the other semifinal contest while Latta blanked Byng’s JV 8-0 and Oktaha outlasted Moss 8-7 in a pair of consolation games.
Roff 4, Byng 3
Simon said he was hoping Roff’s semifinal matchup with Byng would be a battle and he wasn’t disappointed.
The game wasn’t over until Byng senior and cleanup hitter Reid Wall hit a towering fly ball that Roff center fielder Andy Antonio camped under for the final out of the contest with a runner at first base.
“It was just a good high school baseball game,” the Roff coach said.
“Really, it’s just about getting into those (types of games),” he continued. “I told (Byng) coach Shawn) Streater before the game, I would just like to get into a dogfight. I felt like if it wasn’t a dogfight, it would be in their favor — it would be them kicking us. They’re a little more veteran baseball club. I just wanted to get in a good one and I thought we did.”
The Pirates pushed across a run in the top of the first with a two-out uprising that started when Joe Nemecek reached safely on a dropped third strike. Reid Wall punched a single to left field, and Andre Davis followed with an RBI hit to right that put Byng on the scoreboard. The inning ended when Wall tried to score all the way from first on the play but was caught in a rundown between third base and home.
Dalton Reed, who pitched seven gritty innings for Roff to pick up the mound win, blasted a two-run homer in the bottom of the first off Byng hurler Shawn Treat to give the tournament hosts a 2-0 lead they would not relinquish.
Byng saw another golden opportunity to score fizzle out in the top of the fourth. Reid Wall led off the inning with an infield hit and promptly stole second. Wall advanced to third on a groundout. After Gage Wall was hit by a pitch, Streater tried to manufacture a run by ordering batter Andrew Daniel to try and execute a squeeze bunt. But Reed snagged the bunted ball and caught it in the air just before it hit the ground and completed the easy double play by tossing the ball to third base to double off Reid Wall, who had already crossed home plate. Streater argued that the ball hit the ground before Reed scooped it up, but the Roff hurler told The Ada News after the game that he did indeed make a clean catch.
The Tigers scored twice in the bottom of the fourth after Mike Anderson got things started with a leadoff hit. He moved to second on a bad pickoff throw and went to third on a groundout. C.J. Johnson delivered an RBI single to put Roff on top 3-1.
After a Hunter Larsh base knock put runners at the corners, Andres Torres — who replaced Jacob Jones in the middle of an at-bat — bunted the ball down the first base line to drive in another Roff run to make it 4-1. Torres was nearly safe at first with a base hit on the play.
Reed ran into some control problems in the top of the fifth inning and Byng took advantage by scoring a pair of runs. Reed hit Joe Nemecek with the bases loaded and walked Reid Wall to force in the second run. By the Roff pitcher avoided further damage when he ended the inning with an infield fly and and his fourth strikeout of the game. Still, Byng had closed within 4-3.
Reed closed out the game by retiring six of the final seven Byng batters he faced. Nemecek was the final BHS hitter to reach base, legging out an infield single before Reid Wall’s long fly ball that ended the game. Reed scattered five hits in the contest.
Treat, the hard-luck losing pitcher, seemed to get stronger as the game progressed. He struck out eight, including five of the final six outs of the game and also surrendered just five hits.
“Like I told you before, there are days that when we come to play, we’re really good. But then there have been days where we’re not as good, too,” Simon said. “I think that game will make both clubs better. It was a fun one.”
Larsh was the only multiple hitter for Roff, finishing 2-for-3, while Reid Wall had two hits for the Pirates.
Asher 5, Colbert 0
Asher hurler Tanner Andrews struck out 12 and in a three-hit shutout as the Indians cruised to Saturday’s championship game.
Asher (9-2) broke a scoreless tie with two runs in the bottom of the third. Caleb Dubler had an RBI single and Tim Johnson hit a sacrifice fly.
The Indians pushed across their final three runs in the fifth on RBI double by Johnson and Hunter Fowler and an RBI single by former Roff player Trucker Lee.
Dubler had two of Asher’s six hits in the contest while Payton Whitehead went 2-for-3 to lead Colbert (8-5).
Latta 8, Byng JV 0
Parker Henderson tossed a two-hit shutout as the Panthers turned back Byng’s junior varsity. Henderson struck out five in the five-inning affair.
Latta broke the game open with five runs in the bottom of the second. Henderson helped his own cause with a two-run single in the spurt while Brady Johnson added an RBI hit and Kade Hayes had a sacrifice fly.
Treston Tully and Tristan Wood hit back-to-back RBI doubles in the bottom of the fifth to end the game on the run-rule.
Johnson was the only Latta player with more than one hit. Levi Prater went 2-for-2 for the Byng JV, while Trejan Blue struck out four in three-plus solid innings of relief for the Pirates.