JAY- Despite the ominous clouds overhead and the light but steady precipitation, the weather was not the Grove Ridgerunners’ biggest problem as they took on Vinita on Wednesday evening.
Their biggest problem was Tyler Lambert.
Lambert hit two home runs and drove in four RBIs as the Hornets used Grove’s mistakes against them in a 14-4 blowout in the summer league baseball tournament.
Lambert’s two-run shot in the top of the fourth inning would break a four-all tie and give Vinita the lead for good, while a near-exact duplicate in the top of the seventh would cap a four-run inning for the final ten-run margin.
Things started out promising for the Ridgerunners, who used a wild pitching performance by Vinita starter Cameron Willy to take an early 1-0 lead. Willy issued three straight walks, and a passed ball allowed Grove shortstop Zach Knox to score the game’s opening run.
But the Hornets would take advantage of a lack of control from Grove starter Kyle Summerfield. After a walk and an infield error put two runners on with one out. Zack Rutherford then drove in both runners with a single to leftfield to give the Hornets a 2-1 lead.
Rutherford would drive in another run in the third with a fielder’s choice and another Grove error would lead to another Vinita run as the Hornets stretched their lead to 4-1.
But Grove would come back in the bottom of the third. Back-to-back walks opened the inning before Trent Phillips singled to left field to make it 4-2. Adam Steffenson would add another run on a sacrifice fly. Gibson Russ would then reach on an infield error that also moved Phillips to third. Phillips would later score to tie the game when Russ got caught in a rundown between first and second.
Lambert would immediately break the tie in Vinita’s next at-bat and then come on in relief and keep Grove off the scoreboard until the final inning of the game.
The Hornets would break the game open in the sixth, sending all nine batters to the plate and taking advantage of three Ridgerunner errors to score four runs with just one hit. A two-run triple by Ty Kay would make it 9-4, and Vinita would end the inning with a 10-4 lead.
Lambert and Willy would each have two-run homers to left field in the top of the seventh, and an RBI single by Russ in the bottom of the inning would make the final score 14-5.
The Ridgerunners moved into the fifth place game of the tournament with the loss, with the game originally scheduled for Thursday afternoon. All of Thursday’s games were cancelled due to the rain, and as of press time no make up dates have been scheduled.