Down to its final three outs, Rummel used a patient approach at the plate to start a seventh-inning rally, and it paid off big time.
The Raiders scored seven runs in the final inning against Holy Cross to earn a thrilling 8-5 District 9-5A win at Holy Cross Park on Monday afternoon.
It was the Tigers’ first district loss as the Rummel (13-7, 3-2) scored its final seven runs on three hits, three walks and an error.
“We were taking until we got a strike because we wanted to make their pitchers work,” Rummel coach Nick Monica said. “We wanted to get kids on base and turn the lineup over. We were able to do that, and we got some bunts down when we needed to. Our execution was good all around.”
Trailing 3-1 in the seventh, pinch-hitter Charlie Beck opened with a walk against Holy Cross reliever Alex Wiltz. The Raiders loaded the bases with walk and bunt single to chase Wiltz. Reliever Kyle Schexnayder didn’t fare much better as Chase Fourcade walked to cut the lead in half.
Lyall Ball’s RBI single tied the game, and the Raiders took the lead on an error at shortstop. Daryl Deist’s two-run double broke the game wide open as two more runs scored on a wild pitch and on Trent Tully’s bunt to make it 8-3.
“Coach said before the inning that we needed everybody on base, and it started with Charlie (Beck) being the first guy up,” said Fourcade who was 2-for-3 with an RBI. “After that, everybody just dug deep and found ways to get on base. It’s a big win, but every game that we play in district right now is a big game. We’re going to enjoy this win, but we’ve got the Shaw Eagles tomorrow.”
The Tigers (11-11, 4-1) battled back in the seventh, loading the bases with one out, but reliever Luke LaCoste retired the final two batters to end the threat.
Rummel’s Zach Cook got the win going 6.1 innings, allowing five runs on nine hits and three walks. He struck out five in 111 pitches.
“Before the game, coach Monica just told me to throw it where he calls it, and I tried my best to do that,” Cook said. “When we took the lead, there was no way I was coming out of that game. It feels good to get the win, but it’s right back to work tomorrow.”
Holy Cross starter Cyle Clayton earned a no-decision after allowing one unearned run on three hits and five walks in six innings. He struck out nine in 105 pitches.
For Holy Cross, Schexnayder went 3-for-3 with two runs scored while Clayton was 2-for-3. Wesley Robinson had the team’s biggest hit —a two-run triple in the fifth that gave the Tigers a 3-1 lead.
Holy Cross coach Cass Hargis said his team battled but simply couldn’t find a way to get out of the seventh.
“We just couldn’t find anybody to get it done,” he said. “We had our opportunities early on to extend the lead, and we didn’t. We’re just going to come out and play hard tomorrow. We’re going to play hard and have energy and see where we are after that.”