Shenendehowa vs. Columbia: Blue Devils’ late rally defeats Plainsmen, 8-5 (with photo gallery)

Shenendehowa used the long ball to build a couple of leads in Wednesday’s game with fellow Suburban

Shenendehowa used the long ball to build a couple of leads in Wednesday’s game with fellow Suburban Council title contender Columbia.

The Blue Devils answered with a home run of their own, and then answered again in even more dramatic fashion, scoring four two-out, seventh-inning runs to rally for an 8-5 victory on the Plainsmen’s field.

“Both teams did a great job of getting after it,” Columbia coach Chris Dedrick said. “There were a couple of bad plays here and there, and there were some home runs, and guys kept plugging at it.”

Kyle Buss hit a three-run home run to give Shenendehowa a 4-2 lead in the fourth, Jonas Godell delivered a two-run shot to pull Columbia even in the fifth and Chris Miller’s solo blast pushed the Plainsmen in front in the home sixth.

“Both teams never gave up,” said Buss, a senior left fielder. “It was a great game. It was the kind of game you want to be in.”

Columbia pinch-hitter Mike

Luther had the game’s biggest blow, a two-run single in the seventh, and Erik Martin followed with a two-run double.

“It was really awesome to see them come through,” said Dedrick. “Both guys are such compet­itors.”

Dedrick sent the right-handed-hitting Luther to the plate with the bases full to set up a matchup with Shenendehowa lefty reliever Colin Grande. Luther took the place of Columbia’s No. 9 batter, lefty Tyler Casavant.

“We were facing a lefty-lefty situation. Casavant is an excellent hitter, but it was a no-brainer for us,” Dedrick said. “Luther had been taking good at-bats in [batting practice]. Sometimes, you get a feeling, and he produced.”

“Going against a great team like that, and getting a hit in that situation,

there’s nothing better,” said Luther, a junior. “All I did was look for a pitch the other way, and I took it up the middle.”

Grande hit Godell with a one-out pitch and issued a pair of two-out walks before Luther’s drive up the middle and Martin’s second double to deep left.

“He’s proved himself in the past. He’s a great pitcher, and we still

believe in him,” Buss said of Grande, who had two strikes on two batters before Luther’s game-changing swing. “He’ll bounce back. We’ll all bounce back.”

“I’ve know Colin since he was 6 years old, and he’s a diamond rat. He understands this game can beat you up if you let it. He’s mature enough to handle it,” Shenendehowa coach Jim Carrese said of his senior tri-captain. “Will he feel bad for a few hours tonight? Sure, he will, but’s he’s tough mentally, and he’ll find a way to overcome it.”

Grande threw a runner out at home plate from his center field spot, made a superb running grab and hit two singles.

“Did you notice he got a base hit after that seventh inning?” Carrese said. “That’s the kind of character he has.”

Connor Ramon recorded two strikeouts and got a groundout

after Grande’s single to finish off the Plainsmen (7-3, 7-4). Ramon went the distance, allowing 10 hits with five strikeouts and one walk.

“He’s a senior. He’s our ace. He showed that today, especially in the last inning,” Dedrick said of Ramon. “We were going to stay with him all the way.”

Shenendehowa reliever Steve Travis escaped a two-on, fifth-

inning threat with a flyout, and sent Columbia down in order in the sixth. Grande made his running catch to start that inning.

“We showed resiliency today. We battled the whole game,” said Luther. “It would have been easy to give up.”

A.J. Maney hit an RBI single for Columbia, and Shenendehowa’s Mike Cuttita doubled and later scored on a passed ball to knot the game after one inning. Godell doubled and Ryan Henchey gave the Blue Devils (8-2, 8-4) a 2-1 lead in the third on an RBI single.

A single by Matt Buckley and a double by Justin Yurchak preceded Buss’ homer in the fourth. Godell homered off Shenendehowa starter Mike Englert in the fifth after an error.

“I told my kids, it’s May 2 and not May 22. Let’s learn from this experience,” said Carrese. “The kids will respond in a positive way and get back to work tomorrow. The great thing about baseball at this time of the year is that you get to play another game.”

Columbia 101 020 4 — 8 12 2

Shenendehowa 100 301 0 — 5 10 2

Ramon and Henchey; Englert, Travis (5), Grande (7) and Cuttita.

Categories: High School Sports, Sports

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