Late night leaves Rockets 1-2 in tourney

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Boys rebound, top Ohio County after a very late start

By Todd Martin

A long Friday left Shelby County sluggish Saturday morning during the Wildcat Classic at Franklin-Simpson over the weekend.

Already a late scheduled start was pushed back even further on Friday. The Rockets (9-6) were supposed to kick-start the tournament at 9 p.m. against Ballard Memorial (5-10), but the game didn’t get under way until 10:45, nearly midnight in Eastern Daylight Time.

“It was just train wreck of a weekend,” SCHS Coach Bart Roettger said. “Our scores don’t really tell half of what happened.”

Pitching changes and runners left on base pushed the the game into very early Saturday morning. The two teams combined to use nine pitchers.

“We had the opportunity to get up big in the first inning, but we left runners on,” Roettger said. “Unfortunately, that turned out to be the theme of the evening for us.”

Ballard Memorial took advantage of a several Rocket miscues to take a 6-1 lead through four innings.

Although Shelby rallied and lost a close one, 7-6, the story was the team’s inability to convert with runners on.

Shelby scored four runs in the fifth, but with two outs and runners on first and third, the Rockets couldn’t keep the inning alive.

Then in the sixth Shelby had the bases loaded with no outs and the middle of the lineup at bat but left them loaded without scoring a run. The seventh was the same story – bases loaded, down one run with two outs, but a strikeout sealed their fate.

However, by this time it was after 2 a.m.

“When we finally got back to the hotel, it was 3 a.m.,” Roettger said. “What made it even worse was we had to be back out there for an 11 a.m. game on Saturday. The guys were lucky to get four or four-and-a-half hours of sleep before we had to get back up eat and get ready to play.”

Roettger said he could tell his team wasn’t ready Saturday morning.

“When they walked on the field, it looked like they were still asleep,” he said. “That’s not their fault. I think all of us felt like we were still asleep.”

The Rockets were game early on and were tied with Allen County-Scottsville (7-6) going into the fourth inning.

But a lack of sleep and the Patriots finally caught up with Shelby. Allen County-Scottsville scored four runs with two outs after a Shelby County error and tacked on two more in the fifth.

“We scored three in the seventh, but again we had the bases loaded and the tying run on first with two outs, but we just couldn’t convert,” Roettger said. “That was a tough game for the guys, being that tired and trying to comeback.”

After that 8-5 loss, Roettger said the team and the coaches had a heart-to-heart.

“We told them we knew they were tired, and it was hard, but they decided to suck it up and try to get one win to salvage the weekend,” Roettger said.

And the Rockets did just that, squeezing out a 6-5 victory over Ohio County (5-11).

Brian Straub laid down a squeeze bunt to score Jacob Livers, putting Shelby ahead, 6-0, and that run proved to be pivotal.

“We were just trying to get some runs and let the guys feel good,” Roettger said. “We had no idea that it would be that big.”

Ohio County rallied to cut the Rockets lead to 6-5 in the seventh and had a chance to win with runners at first and third, but Straub made a diving play to get to a ball at second and threw the runner out at third to end the threat and the game.

“The guys showed a tremendous amount of character in winning that game,” Roettger said. “We played three games in about 16 hours, and the guys easily could’ve packed it up after some tough losses. But they showed a lot of determination out there.”

SCHS 7, Washington County 6

The Rockets rallied with a four-run seventh to beat visiting Washington County (6-7) Thursday, 7-6.

With the bases loaded, Jared Clarkson and Eric Standafer came up with RBIs, cutting Washington County’s lead to 6-5. John Hunter then ended the game with a two-run double to give Shelby County the victory.

“We finally came alive in the seventh,” Roettger said. “James Wright, Matthew Purdom and Nick Hamblen got us started, and we were able to finish it off. It was a good win.”