MCS baseball rallies past Roxbury

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Staff report
With the score tied and the game on the line in the bottom of the seventh inning, Kyle Short spoke with his bat. Runners danced from the corners with two outs when the Margaretville pitcher/shortstop stepped to the plate. Short sliced a fastball over the shortstop’s head into left field, and the Margaretville baseball team had its first win of the season, a 9-8, walk-off victory over Roxbury.

No one was more deserving than Short. In his second start of the season, Margaretville’s sophomore pitcher was enormous, allowing three hits, striking out seven and walking two over four innings. Even more impressive was Short’s resilience and poise when the young hurler stayed centered as his teammates committed five errors over two innings in the second and third frames.

All over the place
Short was in the action from the game’s start. After yielding a leadoff single to Spencer Hinkley, Short fanned two Rockets and induced an infield groundout to get through the first inning unscathed. The Margaretville pitcher was hit by a pitch in the Blue Devils’ first at bat, moved to second on a wild pitch, scampered to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Matt VanValkenburg’s infield groundout.

Short struck out the first batter in the second on three pitches before the Margaretville defense imploded. Roxbury, beneficiaries of three infield errors, scored twice without a hit to grab a 2-1 lead. Short did get some defensive help when centerfielder Mitch Hull made a running catch of a Sam Nash rocket in the gap in left-center field to save two runs.
Dan VanKeuren walked to start a three-run Margaretville rally. VanKeuren stole second and scored when Cooper Reither doubled. Danny Goodell walked in front of Doug Brady’s run-scoring single. Goodell tagged up from third plating Margaretville’s third run when Short lifted a sacrifice fly to left field. Margaretville led, 4-2.

The advantage was short lived as Margaretville’s defensive woes continued. A Dakota Caronia single wedged between two Blue Devil infield errors plated a pair of unearned runs in the top of the third.

Danny Goodell answered immediately for Margaretville. Back-to-back walks set the table for the Margaretville leftfielder who ripped a bases clearing triple down the right field line. Goodell reached home on Short’s RBI single putting Margaretville back on top, 7-4.
Roxbury added a run in the top of the fourth. Spencer Hinkley walked, stole second and third, then tagged up and scored on Danny Bird’s fly out.

Mitch Hull blasted a long double to center field to open the Margaretville fourth. Hull advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on Brandon Bush’s long sacrifice fly. Nick Hamil, who had come in to pitch for Roxbury in the third inning, settled down and didn’t allow another Blue Devil to reach second base until Margaretville’s final at bat.

Senior Marshall Bouton replaced Short on the hill in the fifth. Hamil and Derek Cowan sandwiched hits around a Hanrahan walk to load the bases. Bouton got a strikeout before Hull made a sliding catch on Spencer Hinkley’s sinking line drive to center field to kill the rally.

Hamil helped his cause with a two-out RBI single in Roxbury’s sixth to help the Rockets draw within a single run. Will Rendler and Chris Clark worked back-to-back walks to open Roxbury’s final at bat. Short appeared to turn an infield ground ball up the middle into a double play but Hinkley was called safe at first base. Bouton struck out a Rocket for the second out, but Danny Bird’s ground ball to third base was misplayed, and the game was tied, 8-8.

With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Cooper Reither laced a single over the bag at third. One out later, Doug Brady drilled a line drive to right field sending Reither to third, setting the table for Short’s heroic finish.

Margaretville hosts Stamford on Tuesday when the Blue Devils return to school after spring vacation.