The Rick Ball Ford Post 642 Aux. Junior Legion team and the Junior Bombers split a doubleheader Tuesday at Dey Field at Liberty Park, Rick Ball Ford (4-2) winning the first game 8-0 and the Junior Bombers (1-1) winning the second 5-4 on a walk-off.
The Junior Bombers entered the bottom of the seventh in game two down 4-3 but put the first two men on with a walk and a bunt single before Rick Ball Ford pitcher Corbin Reese retired the next two. Nick Hagedorn then came through with a two-out RBI single to tie the game. A wild pitch then scored Jake McFail with the game winner.
“I told the boys ‘don’t quit,’” said Junior Bombers coach Jimmy Brown. “We were down, 8-9-1 batters coming up and I told them to just find a way to get on base. We got a couple good hits there and just told them not to quit.”
The Junior Bombers jumped ahead in game two. After a Clayton Meyer RBI single put Rick Ball Ford up 1-0, the Junior Bombers answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Hagedorn tripled to drive in Seth Fraley and scored on a groundout.
In the fourth, Ben Smeltzer scored on a wild pitch to put the Junior Bombers ahead 3-1.
Rick Ball Ford got those runs back in the fifth as Chase Hagle scored on a Tyler Abney sacrifice fly and a bloop single brought in Gunnar Creach to tie the game.
In the top of the seventh, Abney reached on a throwing error and scored on a single down the leftfield line by Meyer, but the lead did not hold.
In the first game, Rick Ball Ford jumped out to a 1-0 lead after a bases-loaded walk in the second inning. They then scored four in the third, Derek Bivins and Tristan Jackson reaching on infield singles, then scoring on singles by Damon Montes and Meyer. A wild pitch brought the third run home and Connor Spunaugle doubled to bring in Meyer.
In the fourth, they added two more as singles from Montes and Meyer brought home Bivins and Jackson. A wild pitch brought in the eighth and final run in the bottom of the fifth.
“Offensively, you couldn’t ask for anything more,” said Rick Ball Ford coach Brent Hodge. “Since we haven’t played in a week and a half, before the game I just told them to come out ready to go and ready to hit the baseball and they were.”
Rick Ball Ford pitcher Vincent Crispi kept the Junior Bombers in check, not allowing a hit until Hagedorn doubled to lead off the fourth. That would be the Junior Bombers’ only hit of the game. Crispi struck out four.
The Junior Bombers had a runner on second in the second inning, runners on the corners in the third and Hagedorn on second to lead off the fourth but could not score as Crispi worked his way out of it each time.
“Vincent is pretty good at that,” Hodge said. “He has a lot of composure on the mound which allows him to work out of it when he gets into those situations.”
For both teams, it was the end of a long break. Rick Ball Ford had been off for more than a week due to several changes to the schedule. Even Tuesday’s doubleheader marked a change in the schedule as Lexington backed out at the last minute and the Junior Bombers stepped in to replace them. The Junior Bombers were opening their summer with most of the players having not played in three weeks.
“A little rusty, it showed the first game, but they came back the second game and played well,” Brown said.