GLEN ROSE – There is very little chance that a single high school baseball game in March is going to make or break a season, but two consecutive loses on the ledger sure could make for a tougher road to the postseason. All of which made Tuesday’s 4-2 home win over Grandview a welcomed tally to the left side of the win-loss column.
“This was a huge win for us tonight,” Head Coach James Evans said. “The kids battled hard and fought all the way through. Camron had a great a performance and pitched his tail off for nearly six innings. Devin did a good job coming off of first base to get a good bullpen-type session in to close it out. Our coaches made some good adjustments on defense and at the plate with the kids, too. This was just a good win all around.”
Junior Camron Rush absolutely dealt for 5.2 innings. His demeanor on the bump never wavered as he continually filled the strike zone during his scoreless outing for the righty’s second win of the season.
The Tigers provided enough early offense to allow Rush to work comfortably for most of the night. For the one of the first times this season it was the ability to execute Evan’s preferred small-ball style of play that benefited the Tigers most.
Two runs crossed in the first inning after the Tigers strung together three-straight singles – the first a drag bunt by Tyler Torres. The third run was scored when Codey Barker reached on a fielder’s choice in the second inning and later scored on a single by Torres.
The small ball returned in the fifth inning after Hammond reached on a seven-pitch leadoff walk. The senior scored his second run of the game on Gus Stoner’s safety squeeze that resulted in a throwing error.
“We finally executed with the bat well. I am a big fan of small ball, especially when you execute it like we did tonight, because you can really break games open.”
Through five innings, Rush had accounted for five strikeouts, while allowing just four hits and one walk. He did, however, began to run out of life in his right arm as he approached the 90-pitch plateau in the sixth.
Facing the heart of the order, Rush gave up a leadoff single, before getting Grandview’s No. 4 hitter to ground into a fielder’s choice and the third batter of the inning to pop out to third base. He then issued his first walk since the second inning and gave up his sixth his – a single up the middle – to force Evans to make a move.
In a bit of a role reversal, Devin Crawford came off of first base to relieve Rush with the bases loaded and two out. Crawford needed just four pitches to induce a weak ground for the third out with the Tigers leading 4-0.
Crawford made things interesting in the top of the seventh inning. The irregularity in his control and sharpness to his breaking ball could have been a result of not having his left arm warm enough during the colder evening breeze. Regardless, the Glen Rose lefty got the fifth batter of the inning to fist the first ball he threw back to the mound for an easy toss to first base.
The save was the first of the season for Crawford.
“Friday is going to be fourth straight big game for us,” Evans said. “Hillsboro is 3-0 right now, so we’ll need the win to keep up with the top half of the district. It’ll be a big game.”
Glen Rose (2-1 in 11-3A) and Hillsboro (3-0 in 11-3A) are tentatively scheduled for a 12 p.m. first pitch in Hillsboro.