Richard Stroud

Grove Sun

LOCUST GROVE – A three-run home run from Bryce Davenport provided the bulk of the offense, and strong pitching from a pair of hurlers did the rest as the Grove Ridgerunners held off the Locust Grove Pirates 6-3 on Tuesday afternoon. Grove starting pitcher Tanner Stroud held the Pirates in check for most of the afternoon thanks to some gritty pitching and help from his defense. Back-to-back singles by the Pirates in the top of the second put two runners on first baseman Trenton Hooker at the plate. Hooker then hit a bouncing grounder to Grove third baseman Erick Ryan, who stepped on third before gunning down Hooker at first to complete the double play. Robert Shelly would follow with an RBI single before Stroud got the final out of the inning. Davenport followed with his shot down the right field line to give Grove a lead they would never relinquish. Kaden Livermore led off the inning with a double before Zac Knox reached on a one-out walk. Locust Grove (12-6) would get another run in the bottom of third. Starting pitcher Cody Jenkins got a two-out ground rule double and was driven home on a single by Treston Beene to make the score 3-2. Justin Bailey followed with another single but Beene was thrown out trying to reach third for the final out of the inning. Grove would play small ball the rest of the way, scratching out a run in each of the final three innings. After Knox led off the fifth with a walk before Trent Phillips reached on an infield error. T.J. Stephens was then hit by a pitch to load the bases. Gibson Russ then hit a grounder to Hooker at first, who fired home to get Knox. Pirate catcher Anthony Taylor then fired the ball back to first to try and complete the double play, allowing a hustling Phillips to score and make it 4-2. After the Pirates got a run back in the bottom of the inning with an infield single, Grove centerfielder Buck Maples would add to the Ridgerunners’ lead in the top of the sixth. After reaching on a one-out single, his second hit of the game, Maples stole second before advancing to third on a balk. Maples then scored on a wild pitch. Phillips would score in the seventh inning on a sacrifice fly by Russ after leading off the inning with an infield single. Meanwhile, Tyler Crossley came on in relief of Stroud to start the sixth inning, giving up just one hit over the final two innings to preserve the victory, the fifth in the last six games for the Ridgerunners (15-13). “We’re getting healthy,” Grove head coach Bret Bouher said afterward. “We’re getting all our pieces back, so we’re starting to play pretty good. We had some chances to get some more [runs] and couldn’t capitalize, but winning’s what it’s all about and that’s what we did today. “Tanner Stroud had mono for a month and so he’s barely getting it started. Today was the first day we even stretched him to five innings. He was solid and did exactly what we wanted him to do.”