ROFF — Former Ada Braves American Legion hurler Koty Frank shut down Roff and helped Tushka tame the host Tigers 6-1 Saturday afternoon in the third-place game of the 24th Annual Roff Spring Baseball Tournament.
Tushka, ranked No. 1 in Class A, improved to 18-2 on the year, while Roff (No. 3 in Class A) fell to 15-8.
However, the outcome of the contest was the furthest thing on anyone’s mind after both teams lost star players to injury in the same half-inning.
Roff senior John Lewis pulled a hamstring racing down the first-base line in the bottom of the fifth inning. Two batters later, Roff’s Talen Rhoten hit a line drive toward Tushka shortstop Cole Broughton, who made a nice diving catch to record the out. But during a hard landing, the THS standout suffered a broken elbow. Broughton was scheduled to undergo surgery today.
Tushka is coached by Dax Simon, brother of Roff head coach Ead Simon. The Roff coach knows Tushka’s players almost as well as he knows his own.
“It breaks my heart. I get to be around those kids a little bit — they stayed up here this weekend — they’re great kids to be around. I hate it for him,” Ead Simon said.
Simon believes Lewis could be back in time for Roff’s playoff run.
“I think he’ll be fine. We’ll just have to get that hamstring treated,” he said. “I think he’ll be fine. He’s a tough kid.”
Tushka scored two runs in each of the first three innings to grab a 6-0 lead.
In the top of the third, Roff starter Connor Baldridge was relieved by Brady Benedict after hitting the first two batters of the inning and walking the third to load the bases.
Benedict threw three balls to Shelby Milam before he was replaced by Lewis, who gave up a pair of runs before getting out of the jam.
Lewis would pitch two more scoreless innings and had calmed the Tushka storm before leaving with the injury.
“He’s probably one that, in that spot, our guy that we really want out there,” Simon said.
Cooper Simon kept Tushka off the scoreboard over the final two innings.
Frank proved to be the difference. While Roff pitchers combined to walk six batters and hit six more, Frank struck out nine, walked just two, scattered three hits and surrendered the lone run in a strong, complete-game outing.
Roff’s lone run came in the bottom of the fourth when Lewis surprised the Tushka defense with a bunt single and later scored on an RBI double by Rhoten. Roff left the bases loaded that inning and loaded them again in the fifth but didn’t score a run.
“We had some opportunities and just didn’t get it done,” Simon said.
Zane Brown had Roff’s other hit, finishing 1-for-2.
Tushka was also limited to three hits. Broughton led his team, finishing 1-for-2 with two RBIs. Trevin Wainright also went 1-for-2 and drove in a run for the visitors.
Roff is scheduled to host Wanette-Macomb at 4 p.m. Thursday in Class A District Tournament action.