GROVE- A big day at the plate from Trent Phillips and a solid pitching performance in game two enabled the Grove Ridgerunners to salvage yet another split in summer baseball action on Tuesday evening at Jim Beauchamp Field.
Phillips totaled three hits and four RBIs in the two games, including both RBIs in Grove's 2-1 win in game two, while the Wildcats were held to just three hits in that game.
But game one was one that got away from the Ridgerunners, who lost the lead on two different occassions and left runners on second and third at the end of the 6-5 Salina win.
The game started out as a pitcher's duel, with Grove starter Kyle Summerfield shaking off some early control issues to hold the Wildcats hitless through the first three innings. Summerfield wriggled out of trouble in the first when a pair of walks and a sacrifice bunt put runners on the corners with one out.
A fly ball to right field by the next batter seemed to be enough to get the runner home, but a strong throw by Trent Phillips turned the runner back, helping Summerfield out of trouble.
Phillips would get Grove on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning. After a pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases, Phillips lined a single through the middle of the infield, scoring Ty Morrow and Buck Maples and giving Grove a 2-0 lead
But Summerfield's control problems would resurface in the fourth inning, with disastrous results. An infield error, a hit batsman and a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third with one out. Another base on balls by Summerfield would load the bases, and a wild pitch in the next at-bat would put Salina on the board.
After another walk reloaded the bases, Summerfield got out number two by strikeout, but a bloop single to right field would score two runners and give the Wildcats their first lead at 3-2.
Grove would strike back in the fifth inning. After Zach Knox and Phillips reached base on walks, catcher Adam Steffenson hit a single to left field to tie the score at three. Phillips would later score on a wild pitch to put the Ridgerunners back into the lead.
But the lead would not last. A lead off single and a stolen base put a runner at third with two outs, and another single would tie the score off Morrow, who came on in relief in the fifth inning.
An infield single and another Grove error would give the Wildcats a 5-4 lead and they would add another unearned run in the top of the seventh.
The Ridgerunners made one last attempt to rally in the seventh when Gibson Russ hit a two-out single. Kaden Livermore would follow by getting hit by a pitch. A Wildcat error would later score Russ and move Livermore to third, but a strikeout ended the game at 6-5.
The Ridgerunners would come back in the next game thanks to Phillips. The Wildcats would get their only run of the game in the top of the first when the leadoff hitter singled. A throwing error on an attempted steal of second allowed the runner to score, giving Salina a 1-0 lead.
Phillips would tie the score in the bottom of the inning with a double that scored Knox. In the third a Phillips single would give the Ridgerunners the lead for good at 2-1.