SHERIDAN — Ayden Roush served as the alpha and omega Saturday afternoon for the Sheridan Troopers in their two victories over Rapid City Post 22 at Thorne-Rider Stadium.
Roush got the start on the mound in the first game and pitched six excellent innings, allowing one unearned run and leading Sheridan to a 3-2 victory. Roush was also the final batter of the day, as he hit a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning to end a wild 17-16 triumph for the Troopers in the second game.
Before the bottom of the eighth inning, Sheridan head coach Ben Phillips had a simple message for his hitters.
“We had 16 runs, so I told the guys, ‘Why not 17?’” he said.
A few minutes later, Roush got a fastball on the inside portion of the plate and knocked it into left field, plating Race Johnston for the winning run. Johnston appeared to injure his quadricep muscle while attempting to make a defensive play in right field in the sixth inning, but the quad was healthy enough for him to score from second base as the Rapid City catcher bobbled the throw.
Phillips didn’t hesitate to send Johnston, saying he wanted to force the opposition to make a perfect throw and catch from the outfield.
“When it’s that far, I’m going to make them execute,” Phillips said.
Sheridan tallied 20 hits — 19 of which were singles — in the second game, their highest-scoring output of the season. However, the Troopers gave up 19 hits and allowed 16 runs, the most an opponent has scored against them this year.
Crooked numbers were all over the scoreboard for the two teams, who were both a bit sloppy in the field and made four errors each. The Expos scored eight runs in the third inning — four of which came as a result of three Sheridan errors — and seven runs in the sixth inning, while the Troopers put up eight in the fourth inning and five in the second inning.
Phillips lauded his team’s competitive spirit and ability to bounce back after allowing high-scoring innings.
“To keep battling is awesome,” Phillips said. “We’ve been walked-off on I think seven times this year, where we’ve lost in the last inning. It was nice to be the team this time to have that winning run.”
Every starter had at least two hits and an RBI for the Troopers. Jaren Brewer had two hits and led the team with four RBIs. Quinn McCaffery went 2 for 5 with three RBIs, all of them coming on a bases-clearing double during his second at bat of the fourth inning. Roush tallied two hits and two RBIs, as did Austin Borzenski.
“At the plate, we were well-rested,” Phillips said. “We were fortunate enough to get 17 runs to win this game. I’m very pleased.”
Five pitchers took the mound for Sheridan in the second game, with mixed results. McCafferty had the most success, pitching scoreless seventh and eighth innings and only allowing one hit.
In the first game, Roush pitched nearly the whole game, only allowing five hits and one walk while fanning six. Boint, Brewer and Kellen Mentock all had an RBI.
Roush mixed speeds on his pitches in game one, which was the Troopers’ first in six days after a brief holiday break. Roush said the days off were nice for recovery but that the team was a bit sluggish early on.
“The first game was kind of slow; I felt kind of slow,” Roush said. “We really just hadn’t played in a while, but it was good to come back.”
The Troopers lost two close low-scoring contests Sunday at Cody, including one that went extra innings.
Sheridan came up short in the first game, 4-3, on a walk-off RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Eric Taylor pitched the entire way, going 6 2/3 innings and allowing only two earned runs on nine hits with seven strikeouts. Taylor also went 3 for 3 at the plate with an RBI. Quinton Brooks and Austin Borzenski each had an RBI.
The Troopers lost in nearly identical fashion in the second