Richard Stroud

Grove Sun

GROVE- After a seesaw evening that was full of comebacks, Gibson Russ's dash home from third on an infield grounder gave the Ridgerunners a 7-6 come from behind win in game two and enabled Grove to salvage a split with the Vinita Hornets at the Grove Sports Complex Tuesday.

Russ's score in the bottom of the fifth in game two capped a a Ridgerunner rally from a two-run deficit after the Hornets took a 6-4 lead with a four-run top of the fourth.

But Grove came back with two of their own in the bottom of the inning, getting an RBI groundout from Zach Knox before Buck Maples scored the tying run on a wild pitch.

Maples would be the offensive star of the day for Grove with three home runs, including solo shots over the left field wall to start off both games. He finished with five runs scored, four RBIs and two stolen bases in the doubleheader.

Maples home run off the first pitch he saw in game one was part of a three-run bottom of the first for the Ridgerunners. After Zach Knox reached on an error, Trent Phillips hit a fly ball that landed in front of a diving centerfielder and rolled to the wall for a triple. Another single later in the inning would score Phillips for a 3-1 Grove lead.

The Ridgerunners would break the game open with a four-run second inning, getting RBI singles from Phillips and Benny Steffenson and a triple from Russ to make the score 7-2

But the Hornets weren't done, chipping away at the deficit with two runs in the fourth. And after Maples's second homer of the game made it 8-4, Vinita exploded for six runs in the top of the sixth, taking advantage of two walks and two hit batsmen to grab the lead for good.

Game two seemed to be following a similar script. After the Hornets scored two in the top of the first, Maples's third home run cut the lead in half. Russ then added a single to score Phillips and tie the game later in the inning.

Grove would take the lead with two runs in the third inning, only to see Vinita roar back with a four-run fourth, again using two walks and another hit batsman to their advantage to take a 6-4 lead.

But that only set the stage for the Ridgerunners' late heroics, which enabled them to even their record at 2-2.

In addition to Maples's big day at the plate, Phillips also had four hits, driving in two and scoring three times on the night.

The Ridgerunners will next be in action on Thursday when they travel to Miami to take on MBC at the Miami Wood Bat Tournament at 11am.