Arma Senior Babe Ruth was on the precipice of having its winning streak end at six but put together a late fifth-inning rally in the second game of a doubleheader Friday night against Columbus.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Chase Cleland got a hold of one and cleared the bases with a walk-off triple. Cleland gave Arma a 5-4 win, the same exact score by which Arma won the first game.
“We were asleep for the first four innings and then we got a couple baserunners on and did some things,” Arma head coach Shane Wade said. “Because I think we had two hits in four innings. Their kid (Nate Bole) was throwing well, we just weren’t waiting on it. I mean, Chase hit the ball pretty well that last one but that play with Eli (Short) getting to second, that was the difference maker because if he just jogged, ballgame. That’s what we teach these kids, go 100 percent all the time. It doesn’t matter if it’s one out or two outs or whatever. Just play hard all the time.”
J.T. Richardson hit a grounder up the middle and Columbus shortstop Aaron Bigando went for the force at second to end the game but Short outraced Bigando to the bag. The bases remained loaded and pinch runner Darius Wilson scored to get Arma to 4-2. Short’s hustle set up the big Cleland hit.
Cleland led the Arma players in dousing Wade and everybody in his immediate vicinity (including sports writers) in celebratory water.
Arma and Columbus meet in the District 5 Tournament on Wednesday. Arma hosts district with Columbus, Erie/Humboldt/Chanute, Independence, Riverton, Parsons, Humboldt and Coffeyville in the field.
In a back-and-forth first game, Arma overcame being outhit 9-6, committing four errors, leaving eight runners on base and having two runners thrown out at the plate. Noah Popejoy delivered a big two-out RBI single and Cleland the game-winning hit in the sixth inning, just in time for Cleland to retire Columbus 1-2-3 in the seventh.
"That's the kind of game we need going into next week," Wade told his team after the game. "We were down in the sixth inning. No one counts us out, not even ourselves."
Arma scored the first run of the game. Short led off with a walk, stole second, advanced to third on a Richardson groundout and came home on a wild pitch. Arma scored without a hit for the run.
Columbus tied it up in the third when Ben Jones singled to left, stole second, advanced to third on an errant throw and scored on a Mason Bass RBI single.
Arma answered right back with two runs in the bottom half of the third. With two outs, Popejoy scored Richardson on a single and Cleland scored on a misplayed pop-up between the pitcher and the catcher hit by center fielder Garrett Miller.
Page 2 of 2 - Columbus scored one in the fourth and went ahead in the sixth with two runs. Kendal Hale singled to left and made his way to third on a pair of Arma errors, one fielding and one throwing. First baseman Jordan Dennison hit a two-run single for the relatively short-lived 4-3 lead.
Dennis Hensley and Short reached on walks. Wilson bunted Hensley over to second. Richardson loaded the bases with Bulldogs when he reached on a fielder's choice; Columbus shortstop Nate Bole fielded cleanly but he let the ball play him and Short, the leadoff man, was able to slide in safely to second on the attempted 6-4 force.
Cleland made Columbus pay when he roped one to left, able to score Hensley and Short. The speedy Richardson attempted to score but Columbus left fielder Aaron Bigando threw out Richardson at the plate. Columbus struck out Popejoy, keeping the game within reach with Cleland left at third base.
Cleland picked up his sixth strikeout by fanning Jones, who could have made the game very interesting if he reached base. Bole grounded out to Trevor Harvey and Bass flied out to Miller.
The second game was a low-scoring affair with most of the contest controlled by Columbus pitcher Bole and Arma pitcher Trevor Harvey.
Columbus broke into the scoring column in the second. Bigando singled and came around to score on a Justin Foust double.
With Arma hitless for the first 2 1/3 innings, Columbus tacked on its second run on a Dennison RBI single in the fourth, taking advantage of two Arma errors on the same play, and ended the top half of the fourth up 4-0 after Gavin Houser drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and Foust hit his second RBI double of the night, again scoring Bigando after he singled.
Arma finally cracked the scoreboard in the fourth. Cleland scored Short on a 4-3 groundout but Arma could not push across more than one, down 4-1 headed into the fifth.
That's when Arma came through in the clutch for a dramatic win and doubleheader sweep.
Senior Babe Ruth
Arma 5, Columbus 4
COL 001 102 0 — 4 9 1
ARMA 102 002 X — 5 6 4
Justin Foust and Kendal Hale. Chase Cleland and J.T. Richardson. WP: Cleland. LP: Foust. E: Hale; Darius Wilson 2, Trevor Harvey, Richardson. 2B: Cleland. SH: Dennis Hensley, Wilson. SB: Aaron Bigando, Ben Jones, Mason Bass 2, Tanner Grant; Cleland 2, Eli Short, Garrett Miller. CS: Chase Bolin. HBP: Grant 2. LOB: COL 7, ARMA 8.
Arma 5, Columbus 4
COL 010 30 — 4 7 0
ARMA 000 14 — 5 6 3
Nate Bole and Kendal Hale. Trevor Harvey and Garrett Miller. WP: Harvey. LP: Bole. E: Dennis Hensley, Eli Short, Miller. 3B: Chase Cleland. 2B: Justin Foust 2. SF: Gavin Houser. SB: Aaron Bigando, Ty Spear. CS: Hensley.