RCS boys top SCS in tight baseball opener

By John Bernhardt
Runs came in bunches Thursday in the fifth inning of Roxbury’s baseball opener. Visiting Stamford plated four runs in the top of the inning to build an 8-3 lead, but Roxbury rallied to score eight times in their half of the inning. The eight-run explosion provided just enough Rocket power as Roxbury held on to register an 11-10 season-opening win.

Two infield errors and a walk spotted Stamford two runs in the first. Roxbury scored two runs of their own to even things up in their first at bat of the season.

Battling back
Senior catcher Spencer Hinkley led off with a walk and scored on Sam Nash’s RBI double. Nash moved to third on a passed ball and hustled home on Nick Hamil’s infield ground out.
Two Stamford runs gave the Indians back the lead in the third. Matt Anderson lead off with a walk, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Greg Mattice third-to-first ground out.

After Eric Erhart walked, the first of two Dustin Kemp doubles gave the Indians a 4-2 lead.
Hinkley got things going again, leading off with a walk in the Rockets’ third. Will Rendler doubled and Nick Hamil walked, loading the bases. Trent Perry worked a walk to bring in the third run.
Three infield errors helped Stamford add on four more runs in the fifth. The big hits in the inning were a two RBI Erhart double and King’s second two-bagger.

Errors were key
All eight Roxbury fifth inning runs were unearned. With one out, Nash singled. Back-to-back infield errors on balls hit by Hamil and Perry loaded the bases and extended the inning. The Rockets capitalized.

A Jacob Davis single plated the first two runs. Left-handed hitter Tyler Faulkner later roped a curve ball inside the right field foul line for a run-scoring double. After Chris Clark walked, Eric Shultis singled home two more runs. Walks, infield errors and a fielder’s choice all contributed to three more runs in the decisive inning.

Leading 11-8, it looked like Roxbury had nailed down the game when they retired the first two Indian batters in the final inning. But, hold the presses, baseball’s a funny game. After a base on balls, Greg Keating blasted a two-run homerun to draw Stamford within a run.

Matt Anderson singled, putting the tying run on. Roxbury choose to walk Greg Mattice intentionally. After Eric Erhart started with a 3-0 count, the Rockets chose to put the senior slugger on board, loading the bases and opting to face Jeff Mattice. Mattice worked the count to three balls and two strikes but was caught looking for the final out of the game.

Walks and infield errors allowed 18 free base runners, and Roxbury coach Greg Funck knows his team will have to improve in that area. Funck was pleased with his team’s timely hitting. “That’s something we lacked last year,” noted Funck.

“We put the bat on the ball today and made them make some plays. They booted a few and we came up with some timely hits and that was the difference.”
Roxbury will play back-to-back games with Margaretville, this afternoon on the Blue Devils home field and Friday in Roxbury.