Roxbury ends baseball season with a win; MCS falls to Jefferson
Roxbury baseball coach Greg Funck sees good things on the horizon for Rocket baseball. At the younger levels of the school, enthusiasm for baseball is running high, a good omen for future diamond success for the Rockets.
The positive swing of baseball success may have gotten an early start when Funck’s current varsity squad finished its campaign with an impressive come-from-behind win, 7-6, over Davenport last week Tuesday. The win helped Roxbury finish their 2014 campaign on a high note. Roxbury rallied to topple Hunter-Tannersville last week, giving the Rockets two pressure-packed victories in a row.
Senior Sam Nash provided the Rockets with a huge boost in his final high school baseball game. Nash, who throws a two-seam fastball with tailing movement, had excellent command throughout the afternoon, throwing a complete game seven-hitter. The tall right-hander struck out five Wildcats and walked only one.
“He had command of his fastball,” Funck told The Daily Star after Nash’s outing on the hill. “He had his two-seamer working and rolled over a bunch of ground balls.”
Nash helped himself in the batter’s box, scoring three times for the Rockets in their final game. The Rockets got big-time production from the back of their lineup with Tyler Fitchner, who bats eighth, getting two hits, and the number nine batter in the order, Chris Schultis, having a three-hit game. Fitchner and Zack Corona hit back-to-back RBI singles in the Roxbury fifth to give the Rockets the lead, with Corona’s base hit scoring Nash with the game winner.
The Margaretville baseball nine suffered a slow fade down the stretch of the regular season. The Blue Devils fell to Jefferson Thursday in a one-of-a-kind, bizarre baseball game, 21-20, in extra innings last week to finish the regular season at 7-6.
Mired in a prolonged batting slump and lacking the energy they showed on the diamond earlier in the season, little changed in the opening innings last week in Jefferson. The Blue Devils quickly found themselves on the short side of things, allowing six runs in the opening inning. Jefferson extended its advantage to 9-1 by the end of the second frame and that’s where things stood when the Blue Devil bats finally awakened in the visitor’s fifth.
A Cooper Reither double plated Matt VanValkenburg, who led off the inning with a single to end the Margaretville batting drought. Ethan Bush singed home Reither, but Margaretville still had a tall mountain to climb, trailing, 9-3.
After Kyle Short and Eric Mathiesen opened the sixth with walks, VanValkenbrurg, Reither and Danny Conroy laced consecutive singles, part of a four-run batting explosion to tie the game at 9-9.
The Blue Devils’ euphoria ended abruptly in the Jefferson sixth, when the J-Hawks scored three more times. Things looked bleak when the first two Margaretville batters were retired in the top of the seventh, but, once again, Short and Mathiesen worked two-out walks.
VanValkenburg slammed a long double to score both runners and a Reither single knocked home the Blue Devils’ first baseman to tie the score at 12-12.
A lead-off walk, stolen base and infield ground out put Jefferson in position for a walk-off win in their final at bat with their two best hitters due up at the plate. But a pop out to first base and a pop out to the catcher spiraled the contest into extra innings.
That’s when things got bizarre. The first 10 batters in the Margaretville eighth inning reached base safely with the Blue Devils scoring eight times. Ethan Bush started the offensive explosion by leading off the inning with his third hit in the game. A Devin Amundsen double and Danny Conroy’s two RBI single were also big hits in the rally.
As amazing as it might seem, Margaretville’s eight-run eighth inning was followed by a nine-run implosion, with the Blue Devils coming home on the short side of a 21-20 extra inning baseball game.
No one would have predicted the final outcome based on how quietly the inning began. The first J-Hawk batter grounded out quietly to third for out number one. A hit batter and base hit put runners on the corners, but a soft ground ball between home plate and the pitcher’s mound picked up the second J-Hawk out of the innings. One run had scored and Jefferson had a runner on third, but the J-Hawks still trailed by seven runs.
Almost anything that could happen in a baseball game happened in the next 15 or 20 minutes of play. Ten consecutive J-Hawk batters came to the plate and every one of them reached base safely. There were diving infield attempts where the ball hit in the pocket of a glove and bounced out as the fielder hit the turf, a catcher’s interference call, a fielder that tripped in pursuit of what appeared to be a catchable foul pop-up, all kinds of nerve-racking excitement.
When it was all over, Jefferson had somehow pried victory from the jaws of defeat.