The two biggest assets for Class B’s top-ranked Roff Tigers baseball team this spring has been homers and, over the last month especially, pitching. Both were prominent at Thursday’s Class B Regional Tournament at Tiger Field.
The Tigers used a no-hitter by Aaron Cornell and three home runs as Roff run ruled the Kiowa Cowboys 17-0 in three innings, then got a perfect game from Brendan McCurry and eight more homers as the Tigers run ruled the Geronimo Blue Jays 28-0 in another three-inning contest.
The Tigers are a win away from making the Class B state tournament, and can win the regional championship at 4 p.m. today against the winner of this afternoon’s 2 p.m. contest between Geronimo (which started the tournament with a 16-1, three-inning, run-rule victory over Big Pasture) and that same Big Pasture team. The Rangers staved off elimination with a 17-7, six-inning, run-rule victory over Kiowa.
The 12 homers on the day put the Tigers (33-1) within two homers of tying and three of breaking, the national high school home runs by a single team in a single season. Roff now has 111 on the season. The eight homers in Game 2 is three shy of the record for a single game, set by the Choctaw Yellowjackets in 1977 against Bishop McGuinness with 11.
But Roff coach Ead Simon says that while the homers are getting attention, it’s his pitching staff which may be the unsung heroes.
“With as many runs as we score, our pitching gets overshadowed,” Simon said. “When it comes down to it, that’s what is going to win or lose ball games for us down the stretch.”
Roff 17, Kiowa 0
Cornell (7-0 with the win) struck out seven batters and only issued a lead-off walk to Kiowa’s Taylor Kellogg to begin the third inning to spoil the perfect game. But not to worry as Cornell struck out the next three batters to end the inning, and the game by run rule.
Meanwhile from the offensive standpoint, the Tigers scored 13 runs in the first inning, with nine of the runs coming on three three-run home runs — one by Brendon Barr (his 10th homer of the season), Tim Wallen (his fifth) and Dayne Parker (No. 15). The other four runs scored on a two-RBI single by Blake Logan, a bases-loaded walk to Jesse Cashman and an RBI grounder by Wallen.
After a scoreless second inning, the Tigers put the run rule into effect with a four-run third inning. A bases-loaded walk to Barr, an RBI double by R.T. Stoup and a bases-loaded walk by Dalton Day made it a 17-0 game.
For the contest, Cashman was 2-for-2 with two runs batted in and a run scored, and Wallen was 2-for-3 with four RBIs and a run scored for Roff.
Ashton Straub (0-1) suffered the loss for the Cowboys (ending the day, and the season, at 11-24).
Roff 28, Geronimo 0
The Blue Jays (22-12), ranked 19th, started pitcher Dillon Leveille, who had an earned-run average of 0.4. The Tigers changed that individual statistic very quickly.
Roff scored 11 runs in the first inning, with nine of the runs coming via the long ball. Brendon McCurry hit two of those homers, his 22nd (a two-run shot) and 23rd (solo) — which increased his career-record homer total to 127. Stoup hit his eighth homer, and the first of two in the game, while Cornell hit his 16th round-tripper of the season — both three-run shots.
The other two runs scored on an RBI single by Barr and a bases-loaded walk to Cashman.
After a scoreless second inning, the Tigers had a 17-run third inning, in which 22 batters came to the plate. Of the 17 runs scored, 12 of them came off homers. Barr (his 11th) and Stoup (ninth) hit back-to-back homers to begin the inning. Before the inning ended, Logan hit a three-run homer (homer No. 15), Cashman hit a three-run homer (No. 9) and Parker hit a grand-slam (No. 16).
The other five runs in the inning came on a wild pitch, a two-RBI double by McCurry and an RBI single by Cashman.
Meanwhile, McCurry (6-1) pitched a perfect game for Roff as he faced nine batters in three innings, striking out six of them. The other three outs were groundouts, one to McCurry and two to Parker at shortstop as the Jays never got the ball out of the infield.
Logan was 4-for-5 with three runs batted in and three runs scored; Barr was 4-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBIs; McCurry was 3-for-3 with two homers, five RBIs and four runs scored, Cornell was 3-for-4 with three RBIs and four runs scored, Cashman was 3-for-4 with five RBIs and two runs scored, Parker was 2-for-3 with four RBIs and four runs scored, Stoup was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBIs and Wallen was 2-for-3 with two runs scored for Roff.
Leveille dropped to 7-3 with the loss.