For the first time this season, the No. 2-ranked Crowder Roughriders did what they did so many times last season during their historic 54-win season.
Crowder fell behind in the early innings, rallied in the middle to late innings, and then won in dramatic fashion in the final at-bat.
The ‘Riders trailed Labette 5-1 Friday before plating four runs in the fifth and then leading off the 10th, sophomore outfielder Cameron Witt reached on a triple, a ball where Labette’s right fielder lost it in the sun, and scored the winning run on Luke Price’s single through the left side of the infield.
Crowder’s relief pitchers were pivotal in the victory — Jack Jumper tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings and struck out five and walked none, then flamethrowing Tyler Gregg pitched two more scoreless innings and struck out three and walked none.
Crowder earned a 6-5 win at Roughrider Field.
“Typical fashion,” Crowder head coach Travis Lallemand said, “playing from behind four or five runs in the middle innings. Seen a lot of that around here. First game was 16-9, no pressure at all, all those guys we ran out there today, except for (Adam) Scoggins, well Jumper was the biggest part of the day getting the momentum with a few zeroes for us. Turned it over to Scoggins, who got two huge outs in a situation with a runner on first. (Brett) Brockinton was good in the eighth, then obviously Gregg has been unhittable.
“It’s been nice, to be able to get some guys out there. We’ve ran quite a few arms out there already in two games and it kinda had a fall ball feel (today), where everybody has their inning to go in. They did just that. That’s a formula for success in the future, hopefully. We’ll see what happens. I didn’t want to have to use Gregg extended there, but I knew that I had already pushed too many buttons and I didn’t want to roll another guy out there, and maybe he was on an off day. Gregg had great stuff, so we left him out there and he finished it.”
Witt led off the 10th with that critical three-base hit, capitalizing on an opportunity for an extra base.
“That was big,” Lallemand said. “We were going to have to start making some decisions that next frame, so it was big to get the game over there. Obviously, a leadoff, a misplayed ball in the outfield, guy gets out of the box hard, and how many times you see a guy do that? … He ends up at third and they’ve got to pull their infield in. Right there, that game winner’s probably a grounder their guy normally fields and all of a sudden, we’ve got one out and a guy at second base. I give them credit. They’re just playing the game the right way and Cam Witt does that every game. He got out of the box and that 90 feet changed the entire complexion of the game.”
Crowder, 2-0 on the season after home-and-home wins over Labette, returns to action Tuesday — weather permitting — against Seminole State, games originally scheduled for Saturday before the threat of inclement weather forced the second rescheduling of the early season.
On Friday, leadoff man Kobe Morris led Crowder’s offense with four hits, all singles, and he reached all five times on the day with a walk in the ninth. Witt and Price each had a pair of hits, while Price drove in a pair of runs, and Brinson Williams hit a two-run double in the four-run fifth.
Crowder starter Ross Carver took a no-decision and he allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits over 3 2/3 innings. He struck out two and walked one.
Over the final 6 1/3 innings of work, Crowder relievers were dominant, allowing just two more hits and no runs the rest of the way and combining for 13 strikeouts balanced against just a single walk.
Crowder pitchers combined on 15 strikeouts and two walks.
Zachary Bess sparked Labette’s offense with three hits and Brendan Ezell picked up a pair of RBI.
NO. 2 CROWDER 6, LABETTE 5 (10 innings)
Labette 003 200 000 0 — 5 9 0
Crowder 010 040 000 1 — 6 11 2
Christian Suk, Michael Hampton (3), Nathan Chase (4), Brandon Rezek (5), Cody Oliphant (5), Logan Portis (9) and Brendan Ezell. Ross Carver, Jack Jumper (4), Adam Scoggins (7), Brett Brockinton (8), Tyler Gregg (9) and Brinson Williams. WP: Gregg. LP: Portis. E: Williams 2. 3B: Cameron Witt 2. 2B: Ezell; Williams. LOB: Labette 7, Crowder 9.