PRC’s six-run rally propels them over Stone, 7-2

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 23, 2017

CARRIERE — The Blue Devils were inches away from losing Tuesday’s game as they entered the 6th inning, trailing the Tomcats 2-1. However, PRC pounded out six consecutive runs that inning to tally another early district win in what PRC Baseball Head Coach Neil Walther said is the best district in 5A baseball.

“This district is going to come down to the last couple of games to determine who will be on top. Any team can win on any given night, and I think the players are starting to understand that,” Walther said, complementing his team’s resiliency, which consists of only three returning players from last year.

Walther said it would be the little things during district games that would decide the outcome. The Blue Devils’ battle against the Tomcats Tuseday was no exception.

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After taking advantage of a miscue from Stone catcher, Blue Devils Caleb Tynes made his way around the bend from first base to safely tag the third base bag. Subsequently, Josh Kennedy stepped up to the plate, hitting a ground ball infield, which allowed Tynes enough time to make it home safely, gaining a 1-0 advantage.

Meanwhile, PRC pitcher Rigell Robinson retired the first eight Stone batters—including four strikeouts—to help his team remain on top.

“Rigell is a great asset to our team. He has done a great job at being consistent this year and his talent allows him to get out of tight situations,” Walther said.

This season, Robinson has accumulated 54 outs on the mound, 34 of which have been ground ball outs, which Walther said is the reason he is able to get out of binds. Out of those 54 outs, 16 have been strikeouts and only four have been fly ball outs. Robinson finished Tuesday with a 2.21 ERA and allowed only two runs while striking out eight batters in his 6.1 innings and 106 pitches on the mound for the Blue Devils.

At the top of the 4th, Stone’s Preston Stringer found himself stuck between second and third base, but confusion struck the Blue Devils, allowing the runner to find second base safely. This miscue eventually led to Stone tying the game 1-1 after Tomcats’ Trey Arrington pulverized a hit into the outfield, bringing home Stringer.

Stone held on to that momentum for another inning, scoring another run to put them ahead 2-1 in the 5th inning, but things got sour for the Tomcats in the 6th.

Blue Devil Tristan Schlottman led off the inning with a walk, then stole second base before Hayden Dunhurst singled him home to tie the game 2-2. Immediately after, Austin Izzio hit a single to place runners on first and third bases with no outs. Another Stone error led to the go ahead run before Eli Lee cranked an RBI single to give PRC a 4-2 lead. Caleb Tynes followed Lee’s success with a double, before a trio of successful bunts squeezed the final three runs of the game by Josh Kennedy, Zach Roussell and Cade Lee. During that final stretch, Stone attempted to catch a Blue Devil runner at home plate twice, but failed both times.

Hayden LeBeau was then assigned to get the final two outs after he replaced Robinson as the bases were loaded, anticipating Stone runners ready to start a 7th inning rally. LeBeau got the save, striking out the final two batters to shut down all chances of a comeback and ending the game.

PRC’s Izzio had two hits along with Dunhurst who also racked an RBI. Tynes had one hit, a double, while teammate Josh Kennedy had one hit and marked two RBIs. Eli Lee and Cade Lee both finished with an RBI also.

LeBeau will start on the mound on Friday as the Blue Devils travel to Stone for another district bout. The game begins at 7 p.m.