Jeff Cali Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Class 2A superpower Dale scored two runs in the top of the fifth inning to earn an emotionally charged 3-1 win over host Roff in a game that ended with Tigers head coach Ead Simon watching from the other side of the fence late Friday night at the 20th Annual Roff Spring Invitational.
During Simon’s second trip out to visit with the home plate umpire to discuss whether Dale lefty Dalton Tillison was balking when throwing to first base, the Roff coach was ejected after the two went nose to nose during the debate.
The Tigers trailed 1-0 heading into the bottom of the third when Roff catcher Cruz Villafranco led off the inning with a base hit. Courtesy runner Jacob Jones went to third on a single by Hunter Larsh and would eventually score — after sliding by Dale catcher Gage Ross — on a sacrifice fly by Zach Lewis that knotted the game at 1-1.
Joe Buckendorff walked in the top of the third and after a Roff error, he would later score on a wild pitch to give Dale its early 1-0 lead.
In the top of the fifth, Dale was aided by two more Roff errors to score the final two runs of the game. Hunter Pinkston ripped an RBI double in that frame for the Pirates.
There was no more scoring, thanks to solid mound performances by all four pitchers that entered the game.
Tillison struck out 11 before being relieved by Lane Cox in the bottom of the seventh. The Dale closer recorded two strikeouts to earn the save.
Hunter Larsh was the hard-luck loser for Roff, while Dalton Reed pitched two scoreless innings of relief for the Tigers.
Pinkston, Tanner Nelson and Tillison all had two hits each to pace an eight-hit Dale offense. Larsh led Roff with a 3-for-3 showing, while Cade Carpenter finished 2-for-3.
Dale, No. 2 in Class 2A, improved to 18-3 while Roff (No. 1 in Class A) slipped to 20-6.
In Friday's other semifinal contest, Asher raced to a 9-2 lead before holding off Lookeba-Sickles 9-6 to join Dale in the title game.
Tanner Andrews improved to 10-2 on the spring, striking out 11 while scattering five hits and walking three in the complete-game outing. Tim Johnson and Trucker Lee both went 4-for-4 to lead the Indians at the plate. Johnson had a pair of doubles and an RBI, while Lee blasted a two-run homer and finished with four RBIs.
Colby Carpenter and Phillip Leon added two hits each and combined to drive in three more Asher runs.
Bryson Lierle homered in a 2-for-4 out to pace the Panthers, while Mo Newell belted a home run for Lookeba-Sickles.
Asher, No. 2 in Class B, improved to 17-7 while Lookeba-Sickles (No. 3 in Class B) dropped to 13-5.