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Rockets rally past Devils, then hold on

May 03, 2008|By DAN KAUFFMAN

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - James Buchanan scored four runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 6-4 lead, then held off No. 7 Greencastle-Antrim's rally in the bottom half to score a 6-5 victory in a Mid-Penn Capital baseball game at Barkdoll Field on Friday.

"We've won three games like that this year, in our last at-bat," Rockets coach Corey Dayley said. "At Gettysburg we scored four or five runs in the seventh. We got our (butts) kicked by (Greencastle) last time, and I told them we were out of the division race if we didn't lay it all on the line."

Greencastle (12-5, 11-2) went on the road for an 8-1 victory over JB (11-4, 10-3) on April 16. But the Blue Devils let Friday's game get away.

Trailing 4-2 entering the seventh and facing Greencastle left-handed closer Joe Sellitto, Ethan Rickabaugh led off with a four-pitch walk. Sellitto struck out Pat Phillips and induced Spencer Knoll into a fielder's choice groundout with Rickabaugh retired at second for the second out.

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Down to their last strike, the Rockets breathed new life when Chad Bernecker doubled to the gap in right, scoring Knoll to make it 4-3. After Christian Egolf walked, Blue Devils third baseman Drew Bittner booted grounders by Vince Cristofano and Tim Chilcote - the first error allowed Bernecker to score and tie the game.

Derek Straley followed with a hard single to right to score Egolf and Cristofano for the 6-4 lead.

"(Bittner) is a heck of a player, and I feel bad for him," Dayley said. "I'll take the win, though."

Greencastle tried its best to make a rally of its own against JB reliever Chilcote. Alex Izer walked on five pitches to lead off, before Bittner redeemed himself to a degree by adjusting to a curveball and poking it into right for a single. The runners moved to second and third on a wild pitch.

Sellitto followed with a towering drive to right that appeared destined for the tennis courts beyond the fence, but Josh McCauley had just enough room to reach up and catch the ball at the fence. Izer scored on the sacrifice fly.

"Five days a week, the wind blows out here," Blue Devils coach Casey Brookens said. "Today wasn't one of them."

Chilcote struck out Rusty Cordell to end the game.

"We put ourselves in position to win the game and came up a little bit short," Brookens said.

Greencastle used singles by Eric Schanzenbacker, Trevor Ile and Izer to take a 2-0 lead in the third. JB tied it in the fifth as McCauley and Rickabaugh led off the inning with walks and scored on Knoll's single and Bernecker's sacrifice fly.

The Blue Devils took a 4-2 lead in the sixth. Bittner singled, Sellitto walked, Bittner scored on an error by Straley and Ile's sacrifice fly scored Sellitto.

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