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The Rockwood Tigers had just four hits in Monday’s District 3-A showdown with Grace Christian Academy, but Jake Witter’s squad nearly used those limited hits to knock off the district-leading Rams.
In the end, however, Grace Christian took a major step in securing the No. 1 seed in the upcoming District 3-A Tournament with an 11-9 victory over the Tigers in eight innings.
Rockwood spent much of the day trying to catch the Rams as Grace Christian scored single runs in the first, third and fourth innings to take a 3-0 lead.
Rockwood, however, began to chip away at the lead by scoring two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.
The first run came quickly as Collin Smith led of the frame with Rockwood’s first hit of the game, a solo home run.
Lucas Jolley scored the Tigers next run. After reaching on an error, Jolley moved up a base when Hayden Freels walked then Riley Clem bunted Jolley to third. Kyler Hagler followed with a sacrifice fly that made the score 3-2.
Grace Christian scored three runs in the top of the fifth inning to make the score 6-2, but Rockwood got those runs back on a strange play in the bottom of the frame.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Hayden Freels struck out, but the ball was dropped. While trying to throw out Freels at first, the ball got away and all three Tigers on base scored to make the score 6-5.
Isaac Allen reached on a two-out error to start the rally then Smith and Jolley had back-to-back singles to load the bases for Freels.
The Rams scored two more runs in the top of the sixth inning to grab an 8-5 lead, but Rockwood used a big hit in the bottom of the frame to take their first lead of the contest.
Tavin Napier reached on an error with out to start Rockwood’s half of the sixth inning and that was followed by a one-out walk to Hunter Golliher and a two-out walk to Allen to load the bases.
That set the stage for Smith, who unloaded the bases in a hurry with a grand slam that gave the Tigers the 9-8 lead.
Smith’s blast left the Tigers three outs away from pulling into a first place tie in the district standings, but the Rams used a pair of hits in the top of the seventh inning to pull even at 9-9.
The Rams then scored two runs in the top of the eighth inning to secure the victory.
Golliher did reach safely in the bottom of the inning for Rockwood, but the Tigers couldn’t mount a rally.
Smith (3-4, 2 HRs, 5 RBIs, 3 runs) was the leading hitter for Harriman on the day.
Rockwood plays at Grace Friday. The Tigers must beat the Rams to keep their hopes of winning the District 3-A title alive.