Comeback Tigers! Springfield rallies from 8-run deficit to beat South Range in 10 innings


NEW MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Springfield Tigers boys athletic teams completed a clean sweep of their rivals from South Range on Saturday.  The Tigers beat the Raiders on the gridiron, on the basketball court and on Saturday afternoon they launched an improbable comeback from being down 8-0 to knock off the Raiders 9-8 in 10 innings on the baseball diamond.

The Tigers improve to 21-3 on the season while the Raiders fall to 20-5.  Both teams are the top seed in their district of the upcoming baseball tournaments next week.

“I think this says a lot about our team,” Junior Chris Thompson said.  “We really emphasized not giving up, keeping our heads in the game and it really paid off for us in the tenth inning.”

“Any time you can come back from being down by so much,” Tigers coach Terry Dobson said of the importance of the win.  “Momentum shifts and then the opposing team sort of tightens up a little bit because they know they had us and they could have put their foots on our throats.  But the pitching really came through in the end.”

“I have some athletes,” Dobson added.  “It’s a process, we have been working on it from day one.”

“We witnessed a team that didn’t give up in Springfield,” Raiders coach Jim Hanek remarked.  “They fought back and we went dead with the bats.  We jumped out to an 8-0 lead and then we weren’t able to generate anything offensively in the following innings.”

With the game tied at 8-8 and one out in the bottom of the tenth, Tigers left fielder Clayton Nezbeth reached first on an error by the Raiders third baseman.  Following a base hit by Drew Clark, and a strikeout, Tigers senior catcher Jarrett Orbin laced a single down the third baseline to chase Nezbeth home with the game-winning run.  Orbin would then be mauled by his teammates between first and second as the Tigers team celebrated.

“We had those two outs and I put the team on my back,” Orbin said.  “I was looking for a pitch I could drive, especially to get it down that line.  It was a fastball on the inside.”

The Tigers tied the contest with clutch hitting and another Raiders error in the bottom of the seventh inning.  Trailing 8-4, Nick Slike would notch a one-out double down the left field line.  Brannon Brungard reached on an infield hit and then Mitch Seymour reached on an error by the Raiders second baseman, scoring Slike to make it 8-5.

Thompson would then line a two-out, two-RBI double to right center to get the Tigers to within a run at 8-7 with Brungard and Seymour scoring.  Nezbeth would knock in the game-tieing run when he dropped a single into short right field chasing Thompson around from second.

The Tigers fought back after being down 8-0 to Raiders in the first inning.  Junior Chris Thompson would rope a lead-off home run over the left field fence in the second inning to get the Tigers on the board.  Then with one out in the fifth, South Range would commit two straight errors before Nick Slike would bring home one run with a single.  Another run would score on a groundout by Brungard, followed by a single by John Slike and a double by Seymour to cut the Raiders lead to 8-4.

“We booted a couple of balls today which allowed them to have some of the big innings,” Hanek admitted about the Raiders defense.  “Those things happen, we weren’t able to cover the errors up.  We have been errorless baseball in the last few games.”

It appeared the Raiders were going to make quick work of the Tigers when they plated 8 runs in the first inning with Ben Rivera lining a bases-loaded two-RBI double to left field to make it 2-0.  Brandon Mikos followed with a single that chased Jake Gehring and Rivera home to push the Raiders advantage to 4-0.

Following a hits batsman, and two pop-ups, the Raiders Josh Stear singled up the middle to score two more runs as they jumped ahead 6-0.  Trey Pancake would hit his second double of the inning to score Stear and Pancake would come around to score on a Jared Bajerski double to make it 8-0 in favor of the Raiders.

Thompson would pick up the win for the Tigers after pitching the ninth and tenth for his team, but it was Seymour who took the mound in the fifth inning and stymied the Raiders bats.  Seymour would pitch four shut out innings allowing just three hits after starter Shane Enyon had a rough outing.

“I was hitting my fastball, my curveball wasn’t working that first inning,” Seymour stated about taking the mound in the fifth.  “I was able to hit my spots, they put the ball in play, and we just made good plays.”

“I don’t think Shane was prepared in the first inning for whatever reason,” Dobson said.  “Every pitch he threw was up above the belt, and then in the second and third inning he kept everything down and focused on where the umpire was calling.”

Raiders Kris Scandy would suffer the loss in relief of the Raiders starter Nick Habeth, Dylan Dominguez and Jake Gehring.  Habeth would work five innings surrendering four runs, followed by Dominguez with two innings of work and giving up an additional four runs.

“It’s a lesson in what could happen,” Hanek explained what the loss meant to the Raiders.  “How quickly a game can be taken away from you.  If you don’t play hard, you don’t continue to play aggressively and add to your lead.”

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