Bulldogs even regular-season record at 12-12
It took a full regular season and a slew of rainouts and reschedulings during this wet spring, but the Rolla High School baseball team reached the .500 mark.
And fittingly, a couple of seniors played big roles in providing the victory for the Bulldogs on RHS Senior Night.
Senior Hayden Nielsen scored the winning run on a run-scoring groundout by senior Chance Callahan in the bottom of the sixth inning to lift Rolla to a 3-2 non-conference victory over Salem Thursday on FCNB Field at the Bray Sports Complex.
Rolla ends the regular season with a 12-12 record and will now host the Missouri Class 5 District 10 Tournament starting Saturday at FCNB Field. On Saturday – weather permitting – fourth-seeded Rolla meets fifth-seeded Waynesville at noon in first-round district action. In the other first-round game Saturday at FCNB Field third-seeded Springfield Hillcrest meets sixth-seeded Springfield Central at 2:30 p.m.
District semifinal games in Rolla are slated for Monday, with top-seeded Springfield Glendale playing the Rolla-Waynesville winner at 4 p.m. and second-seeded Lebanon facing the Hillcrest-Central winner at 6:30 p.m.
The district championship game is set for 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The Salem Tigers finish the regular season 11-7 and are the No. 2 seed for the Missouri Class 4 District 9 Tournament in Sullivan. Salem is to play Saturday's Eldon-Owensville first-round winner in semifinal action at 1:30 p.m. Monday. Also in Class 4 District 9 first-round action on Saturday, fourth-seeded St. James faces fifth-seeded Osage at 11 a.m.
On Thursday Rolla and Salem swapped runs in the third inning. In Rolla's third Callahan and sophomore Andy Satulla both singled and junior Bryan Peach walked to load the bases. Senior Michael Pickrell delivered a run-scoring sacrifice fly.
Rolla made it 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth, as sophomore Jake Stephens doubled ahead of Satulla's RBI double.
After Salem tied the score 2-2 in the top of the sixth, Rolla took the lead for keeps in the bottom of the inning.
Nielsen singled in the Rolla sixth. Senior John Malloch then laid down a bunt to advance Nielsen and beat the throw for an infield single, putting two runners on. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, bringing up Callahan, who plated the run with an RBI groundout.
RHS pitcher Stephens made that one-run lead stand by getting out of the top of the seventh.
A right-hander, Stephens pitched the complete seven innings for the Bulldog victory. He allowed five hits and five walks while fanning four.
Rolla outhit Salem 6-5. Satulla was 2-for-3 for the Bulldogs while Callahan had a hit and RBI, Pickrell an RBI and Nielsen, Malloch and Stephens each had a hit.
No junior varsity game was played.