A three-run third inning and a strong pitching performance from Ty Phillips was just enough for the Grove Ridgerunners to hold off the Vinita Hornets 3-1 in the third and final day of pool play in the Three Rivers Summer Baseball League Tournament at the Grove Sports Complex Friday.
Phillips pitched all seven innings, allowing a single run in the third and a total of four hits while striking out six. He finished the game by retiring the final 10 batters he faced, outdueling Vinita’s Wyatt Speer to clinch a spot in Saturday’s championship game.
Phillips, who had a two-run home run and picked up the win in relief in Wednesday’s 5-4 victory over Jay, also had the big hit in the third inning of Friday’s win. Tyler Jackson started the inning by reaching on an error and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Trent Lyle followed with an infield single. Jackson, rounding third advanced home when the throw to first was bobbled to tie the score at one.
Scottie Spicer followed with a single and, following a groundout for the second out of the inning, Phillips hit a sharp line drive to left field that scored Lyle and Spicer with what turned out to be the game’s final runs.
Speer would follow the three-run third by throwing three perfect innings for the Hornets, who will play in the third place game on Saturday.
The Hornets last good threat to tie the game came in the top of the fourth, when a walk and two base hits loaded the bases with one out. But Phillips coaxed a pop-up foul ball to Spychalski at third and a grounder to Jackson at short to get out of the inning.
Phillips also got some help from his defense in the fifth. Left fielder Kyle Good cut off a sharply hit line drive, fired the ball to Jackson, who hit Lyle at second base to cut down the runner.
The Ridgerunners will play at 6:30 Saturday night at the Grove Sports Complex for the tournament title.