Trailing by a run going into the bottom of the last inning, the Ridgerunner bats came alive Friday afternoon and powered Grove to a 4-3 win over the Coweta Tigers in the final game of the Grove Baseball Festival at Jim Beauchamp Field.
Trailing 3-2 at the bottom of the seventh Ridgerunner senior catcher Eric Brixey popped a double to begin play. Senior shortstop Darius Hopper was up next and took a walk before junior Corey Davenport connected for a single to load the bases.
Sophomore Jake Martin came to the plate for Grove and during his at-bat the Coweta pitcher was called for a balk allowing Brixey to advance to home with the tying score. Martin then advanced to first base on a walk to keep the bases loaded for the home team.
Junior T.J. Griffith then came to bat and made a hit that drove in Hopper with the winning run.
Grove senior Alex Hinman collected the win and pitched the distance. Hinman faced 33 batters in seven innings giving up nine hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
Aside from his play on the mound Hinman put up some big numbers in the batters box Friday. The pitcher went 2-3 with a 2 run RBI single in the third, driving in Brixey and senior first baseman Tyler Dodson, that gave Grove its first points of the game and pulled them to level with the Tigers on the scoreboard.
The Tigers put up a big second inning with two doubles, two singles, and two runs to take the early advantage. The Tigers put up another run in the fifth.
Brixey went 2 for 4 with a single and a double and two runs.
Davenport went 2 for 4 on the day and made a nice diving catch in the outfield during the seventh that helped stump a late Coweta rally.
Griffith went 1 for 3 with the go ahead RBI in the seventh.
Senior J.C. Housley went 1 for 3 on the day with a double in the fourth.
Freshman T.J. Stephens went 1 for 1 with a base hit in the fifth.
Fellow freshman Zac Knox went 1 for 3 at the plate and acquitted himself very well at second base.
Dodson took a walk and was hit with a pitch before scoring a run.
Hopper went 0 for 2 with a walk and a run. The senior shortstop also played a pivotal defensive role all day assisting with a double play in the sixth.
Junior Tyler Spychalksi went 0 for 3 at the plate but made a crucial tag-out late in the game while playing first base that ended a Tiger rally.
After the game Head Coach Brett Bouher had praise for his players.
“It was a big ball game for us,” said the coach. “We kind of gave one away last night that was a big battle with Collinsville; we got beat in extra innings. But today we came out and Alex Hinman pitched a great game for us and gave us a couple of runs. We had some chances offensively and we couldn’t get the big hit. But in the last inning we came up with two runs that gave us the win so it’s a big win for us and gets us back even and now we’ll take a couple of days off and then go to the Durant Tournament next weekend.”
The win moves the Ridgerunners to 4-4 on the season. Grove travels to Durant this weekend for the Durant Tournament. The Ridgerunners return to Beauchamp Field on April 1 for a date with Pryor.