Cavs Rally Past BHS, Force 3-Way Tie

Tripper Ergle working in relief Tuesday night. (photo/Melissa Greider)

COLUMBIA – The Region IV-4A baseball standings got a little tight when Blythewood pitcher Connor Grant hit Richland Northeast right fielder Garrett Lemon with a pitch Tuesday night.

With the score knotted at 7, the bases loaded with Cavaliers and one out in the ninth, Grant slipped up and plunked Lemon, who trotted to first and scored Nick Gelting to seal an 8-7 victory over the Bengals, and force a three-way tie for first among Blythewood, RNE and Lugoff-Elgin. All three teams are 6-3 in the region as of Tuesday night.

“I don’t know who’s got the tie breaker,” said a disappointed Barry Mizzell, Blythewood head coach. “It was one of those things, you just have to give Northeast credit. They kept battling back. They got some hits when they had to and they battled back.”

The score was tied at 5 after the seventh inning, but Blythewood scored two runs on Ryan Malone’s 1-out double in the top of the ninth to make it 7-5. Grant’s steady pitching on the mound for the Bengals — two hits and six strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings going into the bottom of the ninth — made things seem bleak for the Cavaliers.

Joe Stanton led off the bottom of the ninth by reaching on an infield error. He scored on Shannon Glover’s double to right field to cut the lead to 7-6.

After Justin Davidson drew a walk and Zach Crumlich grounded out, Gelting was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out for Harrison Merck. Merck’s infield line drive was batted down, but nobody could make a play, which enabled Stanton to score the tying run.

With the bases still loaded, Lemon stepped into the batter’s box and took one for the team.

“They found a way to win it, that’s what you got to do,” Mizzell said. “They battled back and you have to give them credit.”

Once the clouds that delivered a light shower parted, Blythewood seemed to take control of the game with a 3-run third inning. Walt Ballentine’s 2-out, 2-run single scored Tyler Romanik and Drew Ellis. Ballentine scored on Malone’s double on the next play before Barrett Grant lined out to end the inning.

Richland Northeast climbed back into the game in the bottom of the fourth, scoring four runs on four hits. The Cavaliers made it 5-3 with a run in their half of the fifth.

While Richland Northeast looked to close out a win in the top of the seventh, Ballentine struck back with a 2-out 2-run single that forced a bottom of the seventh. Grant then struck out the side in that frame for the Bengals to force extra innings.

BHS 003 000 202 – 7 11 0

RNE 000 410 003 – 8 10 1

B: Ellis, Ergle (4), Grant (5,L) and Cook. R: Crumlich, Miller (9, W) and Glover. 2B: Malone (2), Romanik, (B). Glover (2), Stanton, Davidson.

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