The Rolla baseball team finished off play in the Four Rivers Tournament over the weekend with games against Montgomery County and Washington on Saturday, Mar. 23. The Bulldogs lost the first game of the day 9-3, before bouncing back with a 10-4 win over Washington.
The Bulldogs were able to take an early 2-1 lead over Montgomery County on Saturday thanks to a pair of runs in the second, but Montgomery County put the game away in the third. The Wildcats went off for five runs in the inning and the Bulldogs couldn't recover in a 9-3 loss.
Collin Woods took the loss for Rolla, pitching five innings. He allowed 12 hits and seven runs, while striking out six and walking two. Ethan Skyles closed out the final two innings, allowing a pair of runs, one of which was unearned.
Offensively, Rolla's three runs came on an RBI groundout from Hunter Hoss, an RBI bunt single from Brady Yarger and an RBI double from Parker Yoakum. Rolla had six hits as a team.
After a tough loss to open the day, the Bulldogs bounced back in the second game of the doubleheader. Rolla struck first with runs in the first and second, before taking on two more runs in the third. Both of Rolla's runs in the first and second innings came with two outs and no one on, which set a tone of great two out hitting for the day. Washington punched back with a total of three runs, scoring one in the third, fourth and fifth, before Rolla put the game away in the sixth.
Collin Woods opened the inning with a walk, before advancing to second on a groundout. An RBI double by Yoakum started what would end up being a big inning for the Bulldogs. A single by Treyton Ruth put runners on the corners, before a pop out left Rolla with two on and two out. The Bulldogs kicked the offense into gear with two outs. Drew Johnson started with an RBI double, before a walk by Gus Gremp loaded the bases. Colby Shivers then reached on an error, bringing one run in, before Cole Daniels and Woods each added RBI singles to bring the run total to six for the inning. Washington added one in the bottom of the frame, but it was too little too late as Rolla finished off a 10-4 win.
Head coach Kenny Hohe really liked seeing his young team step up with two outs when they needed to, especially since a lot of that production came from the back half of the lineup.
"Honestly, there's still some things we need to do and there's still some work to be done, but (the sixth) was our first big inning that we've had this season," said coach Hohe. "To see that we were capable of doing that and it was more the bottom half of the lineup, more-so than the top of the lineup."
Shivers started the game for Rolla, pitching two scoreless innings. Hoss earned the win, allowing three runs over three innings in relief. Johnson pitched one inning, allowing one run in the sixth.
Offensively, Blayne Yarger led Rolla with three hits and two runs scored. Daniels drove in a pair of runs on two hits, while Skyles drove in a pair on one hit. Hoss drove in a pair of runs on two hits and scored once in the win. Johnson, Ruth, Yoakum and Woods all drove in runs in the win. Between the two games, Yoakum reached base in every at bat with two hits, three walks and two hit by pitches.
Coach Hohe likes the way his team was able to bounce back after a rough first game to win the second. With a young, inexperienced team, the win over Washington was a big step in the right direction.
"It gives us something to build off of," said the Rolla head coach on the win over Washington. "By winning the second game, we ended up in second place of the Four Rivers Tournament, which for this team is a nice little accomplishment for us. It's something to build off of. There's still a lot of areas where we still need to improve and I've told the kids it's not just players, I've got areas I need to improve. We're getting there.
"It doesn't help that we've been stuck inside and now the weather is starting to turn a little bit, but we haven't been able to have any quality outside practices, because we've had games every day," continued coach Hohe. "I love played as much as possible, but I'm looking forward to having a couple of good outdoor practices where we can focus on a few things."
The Bulldogs will open the week with a pair of road games at Lebanon and Battle on Monday and Tuesday.