By all accounts, Granite ace Cole Fletcher had been an irresistible force so far this spring. Unfortunately for him and the Panthers, they ran into an immovable object called the Roff Tigers.
Roff pounded 10 hits off Fletcher in a convincing 11-3 win over Granite Thursday afternoon in the first round of the 25th Annual Roff Baseball Tournament.
Roff, ranked No. 1 in Class B, improved to 16-2 on the year, while No. 10 Granite dropped to 16-6.
“I think that kid’s pretty good. We had some good at-bats against him and got some big knocks. But yeah, he’s a good one,” Roff head coach Ead Simon said. “It’s good to see an arm like that. It’s good for our guys.”
Against the Tigers, Fletcher struck out three, walked three and surrendered nine earned runs in three innings of work.
“That’s kind of our deal. I still feel like we can send nine pretty tough outs up there,” Simon said.
Roff got an error-aided run in the bottom of the second inning before Granite fired back.
The Panthers scored three times in the top of the third inning.
Daelan Lee walked to lead off the inning, and Creed Willis reached safely thanks to a Roff error.
Simon intentionally walked Fletcher with one out to load the bases, and RHS hurler Brady Benedict forced in a run by walking Tucker Murray to put Granite ahead 1-0.
Frankie Bone followed by lacing a two-RBI double down the right-field line that gave the Panthers a 3-1 edge.
Benedict settled back in after that and gave up just one hit over the final two frames. He finished with six strikeouts and four walks while surrendering three earned runs in five innings of work.
Roff began to get some big hits in the bottom of the third. Talon Rhoten ripped a two-RBI double, and Conner Owens later walloped a two-run homer to put the Tigers ahead 5-3.
Roff put the game out of reach with five more runs in the fourth inning. Rhoten’s three-run double to the wall in right-center field was the big blow in that RHS volley. Owens socked an RBI triple in the inning, and Cooper Simon supplied a run-scoring double.
Roff led 10-3 heading to the bottom of the fifth before Coby Simon reached on a bunt hit from his nine-hole spot, stole second and went to third on an infield hit by Cooper Simon. Coby Simon scored on the same play on an overthrow at first base to end the game via the run-rule.
Rhoten led the RHS attack, going 2-for-2 with two doubles, five RBIs and two runs scored. Cooper Simon finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Owens went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Coby Simon finished 1-for-2 with two runs scored.
The youngsters who filled the home portion of the stands were pleased with the outcome.
“You always like that first game. It’s a good atmosphere. You have the whole school down here watching. It was a good day to play baseball,” Simon said.
The Tigers will compete in a semifinal game at 2:30 p.m. today.