The Rolla High School baseball team made its best impersonation of the St. Louis Cardinals' home opener...in reverse.
On Monday the Cardinals took a lead into the eighth inning, only to see the arch-rival Cincinnati Reds tie things up in the eighth and then burn the Redbirds for nine runs in the ninth to spoil the St. Louis home opener.
On Tuesday the arch-rival Waynesville Tigers held a 4-0 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning against Ozark Conference foe Rolla on FCNB Field at the Bray Sports Complex.
However, the Rolla Bulldogs struck for four runs in the seventh to tie things up and force extra innings. And in the bottom of the eighth senior David Roberts knocked in the game-winner with a run-scoring grounder to give RHS a 5-4 victory.
Rolla improves to 6-7 overall and 1-2 in the conference while Waynesville falls to 1-9 and 0-4.
The Bulldogs got things going in the seventh with a bloop single by junior Seth Stevens followed by a Tiger error on a ball hit by sophomore Collin Nash to put runners on 1st and 3rd base. Roberts' RBI fielder's choice plated Stevens. Senior Hayden Nielsen had an infield single and senior John Malloch came up as a pinch-hitter and delivered a two-run single.
Malloch stole second base in front of a bloop single from sophomore Jake Stephens. Sophomore Andy Satulla tied the game with a run-scoring infield single.
After the Tigers went scoreless in the top of the eighth the Bulldogs got a single from senior Michael Pickrell. Stevens walked. Nash then reached base on an error by the Waynesville leftfielder, bringing up Roberts, who hit a grounder to the shortstop, who fired home trying to get Pickrell. However, Pickrell slide in safely ahead of the tag, winning the game.
"That's one thing about this team; we never give up," said RHS head coach Karl Odenwald. "We've had a number of times this year we were able to get back into games late. I think that will pay off big-time as the season progresses."
Powered by seniors Ethan Howser and Dylan Newcomb, the Tigers got solo runs in the top of the second and third innings. Newcomb doubled, stole second base and scored on an error in the second. In the third Howser tripled and scored.
Waynesville made it 4-0 with two more runs in the fourth on a fielder's choice, walk and two-run double from senior Justin Wagner.
Rolla outhit Waynesville 10-8. Nielsen had three hits for Rolla and both Howser and Newcomb had three hits for Waynesville.
Stephens pitched the first four innings for RHS, allowing four runs – three earned. Sophomore Mason Pickrell came on in the fifth frame and finished up on the mound for the Bulldogs, allowing two hits and gaining the victory.
Page 2 of 2 - Senior Zach York was the Tiger starting pitcher and worked into the seventh inning. Freshman Ryan Pendleton finished up for the Tigers and was tagged for the loss.
"They swung the sticks as well as anyone we've seen this season," Odenwald said of Waynesville. "They've lost some tough games this year. It was huge for us, being down by four and coming back. Mason came in and even though he didn't have his best stuff he kept them from scoring."
Rolla won the junior varsity game 8-6. Landon Maynard was the winning jayvee pitcher.
The Bulldogs are slated to play another conference game Friday at West Plains, starting at 4:30 p.m.