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Rockets slip past Bearcats on game’s final play

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Moore, Dugle score tying, winning runs with two outs in the 7th

An unlikely ending to Thursday’s Anderson-Shelby baseball game left even loquacious Rockets Coach Bart “Rudy” Roettger speechless. Almost.

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Down to its last strike, Shelby County tallied two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat the Bearcats 4-3 in a key 30th District game at the Shelby County Athletic Complex.

“Wow! I have no words to explain that one,” said Roettger, who did offer some moments later.

Trailing 3-2 with two outs, two strikes and two runners on base Shelby County sophomore Matt Gammon bounced back to Anderson pitcher Brandon Eliadis as Rockets senior Kipp Moore was just a few steps from stealing home. Eliadis fielded the ball cleanly, but threw errantly to first base, allowing Moore and Kyler Dugle to score the tying, and winning, runs.

“We are very lucky to have one of the smartest baseball players I have ever come across in Kipp Moore,” Roettger said. “He is also one of the best base stealers I have had the good fortune of coaching. As a result, I give Kipp the green light in most occasions. Thursday night was no different. He noticed Anderson County's pitcher was slow to the plate and moved to the windup. He proceeded to try stealing with a two-two count and two outs. With the pitch, Matt Gammon was forced to swing at anything close. … As a result of Moore stealing, the pitcher's instinct to try to stop the excitement caused him to throw the ball high, and wide.”

Those runs gave Shelby County (16-4, 1-1) its eighth victory in its last nine games, and its second straight over the Bearcats (10-8, 1-1).

The Rockets, who beat Anderson County 7-4 last year, jumped out to an early lead, tallying two runs in the bottom of the first.

Moore led off with a single, then scored moments later on Dillon Boone’s double to left field. Dugle followed with a single to drive in Boone.

The Rockets had chances to add to their lead in the third and fifth frames, but they left runners on second and third in the third and left the bases loaded in the fifth.

The Bearcats, meanwhile, plated one run in the fourth, thanks in part to a Shelby County error, and two in the sixth off Moore, who started on the mound for the Rockets. With one out in the sixth the Murray State-signee walked Anderson’s cleanup hitter (Lucas Durr) before hitting its No. 5 hitter, Conor Cotton, who started on the mound before being replace by Eliadis in the sixth. Sophomore Josh Brown then doubled to left field, scoring Durr and moving Cotton to third.

The next hitter, Brice Stockton, bounced to Dugle at third. The junior went back toward the base and stretched to tag out Cotton, who was retreating to the base. Dugle, however, then threw errantly to first, allowing Brown to come around and score the go-ahead run.

Shelby County went down in order in the bottom of the sixth before senior David Fitzgerald came on for the Rockets and retired the side in the top of the seventh.

In the bottom of the inning, senior Alex Bradley led off with an infield single before Moore walked. Boone advanced both with a sacrifice before Dugle was given an intentional pass to first to load the bases. Steven Standafer then bounced to third for a fielder’s choice where Bradley was forced out at home. Next up was Gammon, who was the final out in the Rockets’ loss to archrival Collins a week before.

Gammon took the first three pitches, two for strikes, then fouled off three in a row before putting the ball in play, and ending the game.

“As I have told several people, I am still stunned,” Roettger said four days later. “In a game in which we probably did the worst job of executing our offensive approach, leaving eight runners on, execution in the end paid off. Kipp Moore and Matt Gammon fouled off several tough two-strike pitches and Dillon Boone, who has been one of our best hitters all year, stepped up big-time in the seventh by putting runners in scoring position with one out thanks to a good sacrifice bunt. After a Steven Standafer fielder’s choice, [it was] one of the craziest endings to a high school baseball game I have seen.”

Moore gave up three runs, one earned, on seven hits while walking two and striking out four in six innings, but it was Fitzgerald that got the victory thanks to his 11-pitch seventh inning.

“We jumped on them early and played a very good defensive game, thanks to great defensive plays by Bobby Crisp, Zach Holmes and Joe Crisp, for the majority of the game,” Roettger said. “I was a little frustrated we lost the lead in the sixth, [but] our young men have shown all year that they are pesky and resilient. The seventh inning showed that. When most teams would fold, our guys grinded out their best at-bats of the day. A good win for the Rockets.”

The Rockets, who hosted Spencer County in another district game Tuesday night, host Whitefield Academy at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and Newport Central Catholic at 6 p.m. Friday.

 

Shelby County 4, Anderson County 3

Anderson County 000 102 0 – 3 7 1

Shelby County 200 000 2 – 4 5 2

Conor Cotton, Brandon Eliadis (6) and Brice Stockton. Kipp Moore, Fitzgerald (7) and Dalls Wills. W – Fitzgerald. L – Eliadis. 2B – Dillon Boone (SCHS), Eliadis (AC), Josh Brown (AC). Records – Anderson County 10-8, 1-1; Shelby County 16-4, 1-1.