The Grove Ridgerunners baseball team went 1-1 in a tournament hosted in Grove this past weekend after winning against Rogers Providence Patriots 6-5 and losing to Willard Tigers 5-8.
In their first game against the Rogers, Arkansas team, the Ridgerunners placed Jack Gentry on the mound to start the game.
Gentry threw a total of 92 pitches in the four innings he was on the mound of which 49 were strikes.
The Patriots stepped into the batter’s box and proceeded to take three walks from Gentry who threw one strike and 12 balls for the three batters loading the bases.
Gentry took a moment to try and collect himself and Patriots player Eli Jackson stepped into the batter’s box and took the first pitch as a Ball, followed by a strike and two more balls.
With a 3-1 count, Jackson gaged the next pitch and took a swing connecting hard with the ball sending it flying over the left field wall for a Grand Slam.
The Ridgerunners closed out the top of the first with a ground out, fly out and a strikeout for Gentry.
Neither team was able to put additional runs on the board until the bottom of the third inning when Zane Knox and Tyler Davis where hit by the pitch followed by Braxton Penning getting walked.
With the bases loaded Chat Hayes was walked allowing Knox to take home scoring the first run of the game for the Ridgerunners.
Gentry flew out to center field leaving three runners stranded to close the third out 1-4.
The Patriots responded with a double after hitting a ground ball to Pennington at third that was just out his reach allowing the Patriots to score a run bringing the game to 1-5.
The Ridgerunners scored again during the bottom of the fifth after Toby Cearley singled to second base beating the ball the first.
Knox stepped into the box and took his first pitch as a ball allowing Cearley to steal second base.
Knox connected with the fourth pitch after going 2-1 and grounded out to second base but Cearley was able to take third base placing him in a great position to score.
Davis stepped up and was hit by the pitch to take first base putting a man on first and third for the Ridgerunners.
Pennington took swing to hit a double with a ground ball to left field allowing Cearley and Davis to reach home bringing the score to 3-5 before the inning closed out.
The innings passed with no score from either team before arriving to the bottom of the seventh and the last chance for the Ridgerunners to put points on the board.
Cearley was first up to bat and took only one strike before being walked and sent to first base.
Knox hit the first pitch to first base and scored a triple sending Cearley home for an RBI.
With the score 4-5 and a man on third the crowd was on their feet cheering the Ridgerunners hoping for the tying run or win.
Davis was next on the plate and took his first pitch as a ball the second pitch went wild missing the catcher and hitting the backstop.
Knox saw the throw go wild and dashed for home sliding into the plate moments before the catcher reached him.
With the crowd screaming the Ridgerunners tied the game up 5-5 giving the team a chance to win.
Pennington was walked after taking the first pitch as a strike followed by his walk.
After another hot pitch past the catcher Pennington steals second putting him in scoring position with a chance to win the game.
Hayes singled on a ground ball to shortstop who threw out Pennington at third allowing Hayes to reach first.
Gentry popped out to the catcher closing out the inning for the Ridgerunners with a tie 5-5 sending the team into extra innings.
During the top of the eight Knox was pitching for the Ridgerunners and shutdown the Patriots with a stroke out, pop out to the pitcher and another strikeout to send the Patriots back to the Dugout.
It was the bottom of the eight with the score tied 5-5 and the Ridgerunners needing a run to win.
Layne Rutherford was first to bat hitting a single to shortstop.
Colin Craig stepped up next and struck out swinging followed by Kaleb Keener hitting a pop fly to left field.
Rutherford was still sitting on first base and hoping to score the winning run for the boys.
Cearley who after 11 games is holding a batting average of .385 stepped into the box.
Cearley looked at the first pitch and took a hard swing connecting to send the ball flying to left field.
With the long pitch Cearley was able to score the winning run sending Rutherford home on a triple giving the boys a win 6-5 after extra innings.
They boys had a brief break as another team was playing in the tournament allowing them some time to enjoy the win and reset before their next game.
Due to some scheduling conflicts the boys didn’t face the Siloam Springs (Arkansas) Panthers but instead went against the Tigers from Willard, Missouri.
“[The Siloam Springs Coach's] reasoning was he wasn’t aware it was this weekend, but he did make many comments not wanting to play Willard," Pennington said, as to while the Benton, County team was a no-show.
Willard boasts some incredibly difficult teams having a football program that has been ranked number two in the state and a baseball program to match.
Showing their strength at the top of the first innings the Tigers were able to score five runs against the Ridgerunners before being sent to the field.
The Ridgerunners just couldn’t stop the bleeding allowing for an additional run in the top of the second and another two runs in the third.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the fifth that the boys were able to get back into the game.
After taking two walks putting a runner on first and their Keener was able to hit a fly ball to left field scoring the first run of the game for the Ridgerunners and earning a single.
Knox stepped up to swing and taking a ball for the first pitch which Keener took advantage of stealing second base.
Knox then hit a line drive to center field scoring a double with two RBIs.
Davis was next on the plate and hit another double with a fly ball to right field giving Knox the chance to score.
The Ridgerunners closed out then inning when Pennington hit a fly ball to left with a 4-8 score preventing a shutout.
The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the seventh inning when the Ridgerunners stepped up to the plate.
They crew was able to load the bases with only one out on the board.
Pennington was up to bat and saw Knox picked off at second to give the Ridgerunners two outs.
On a wild pitch Kenner scores by stealing home.
Pennington took another ball and the count was 3-2 but the next pitch left Pennington swinging and ended the game with a 5-8 score.
The Ridgerunners battled back from a 0-8 deficit and didn’t lose hope that they had a chance to win.
The boys face off against Miami next playing their game at home Monday, April 2. Results of that game were unavailable as of press time.
The crew will then head to Miami to play the second of two games at 5 p.m., Tuesday, April 3.