GLEN ROSE – It took a full seven innings, but the Tigers picked up district win No. 8 to move one step closer to locking in an 11-3A playoff spot with a 8-0 win Friday over Millsap.
The game was played in Glen Rose, but the Tigers were technically the visiting team after a game-day rescheduling when the playing surface in Millsap was deemed to still be too wet. Even though the relocated game took all 42 outs to complete – 12 more than in the Glen Rose run-rule win in the previous meeting – the outcome was never in doubt.
“They could have been flat, especially after Tuesday night’s big win, so we knew we had to come out playing and we did,” Head Coach James Evans said. “We played good, made all the plays and we executed the small ball tonight.”
Camron Rush led off the first inning with a single on the fifth pitch, scored two batters later on a Dylan Hammond single and Layne McAnear then doubled to plate Hammond for a 2-0 Glen Rose lead with 40 outs to go.
The Tigers scored their eight runs – six earned – on 13 hits and two safety squeezes with three strikeouts and two free passes. One of those free passes was a five-pitch walk issued to Tyler Torres in the second inning. The other was a hit-by-pitch off of the left oblique belonging to Gus Stoner.
It was a team-leading 7th time for Stoner to be hit by a pitch this season on a day where he also collected two hits. His three times aboard the base paths helped to raise his on-base percentage to .464 – second to only Torres’ .544 OBP.
Torres also added a hit to his Friday ledger – a single in the sixth inning to left field – after he saw his 10-game hitting streak end with a 0-for-3 line Tuesday in the win over Hillsboro. The Glen Rose second baseman now sports a .426/.544/.462 slash (BA/OBP/SLUG) with hits in 15 of 20 games this season.
Torres – who remained in the game after he suffered an apparent hand injury on a bunt attempt in the first inning – still leads the team with 24 hits, but Hammond is not far behind.
The senior center fielder picked up hits No. 20 and 21 Tuesday.
McAnear, the new owner the longest active hitting streak at seven games, picked up three more hits during the win. His 11 hits over the last seven games includes four for extra bases – two double and two triples in wins over Grandview and Millsap – and has seen his batting average jump nearly 100 points to .380.
McAnear finished 3-for-4 Friday with two runs and an RBI. He could have done significantly more damage at the plate, had it of not been for a miraculous Chase Buchanan stab of a line drive the Glen Rose shortstop sent screaming down the first-base line. With a double steal already in motion, the lineout was the first in the ensuing triple play turned by Buchanan and shortstop Hunter Mass.
“There was nothing you could do about that,” Evans said with a grin. “We had a double steal on at the same time and it was just right to [Buchanan] perfect. I tip my hat to the other team for that one.”
As a part of the aforementioned small-ball execution, there were also six stolen bases credited to the boys in red, which included the first of the season for each Devin Crawford and Codey Barker.
Barker also slugged a two-out double as a part of the four-run top of the third inning that helped put the game securely away.
On the bump, Rush (5-2, 1.80 ERA) looked more like he did pre-injury than he has over his last two starts. During his two outings against Brock and Grandview, the right-handed hurler lasted a combined 3.2 innings with nine runs on five hits and eight walks without recording a strikeout.
Rush struck out five Bulldogs in his complete-game shutout Friday evening. He also allowed just three hits and issued two walks while using 92 pitches to maneuver through the Millsap lineup.
“Camron had a great outing tonight,” Evans said. “He finally got his splitter working again and kept them off balance. I thought it was a great game, because Millsap is the type of team that can sneak up and beat you. But we pretty much took care of that by the way he pitched, our play in the field and at the plate.”
The win was No. 356 for Evans, but, despite needing one more to clinch a playoff berth, he said he wants to run the current three-game winning streak to a season-high five games as he Tigers enter the playoffs.This also marks the fourth time the Tigers has won three-straight games this season.
“We should clinch if we win one more,” Evans noted, “but I would like to win out and finish strong to at least finish in a tie for second place. We are going to come after the next two [games].”
Glen Rose (13-6, 8-4 in 11-3A) returns to the diamond Tuesday, April 26, at home against Rio Vista. The Tigers won the previous meeting 12-2 behind a complete-game effort from Devin Crawford. First pitch is slated for 7 p.m.