By Robert Edmonds - firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- Skyline pulled out another win late in the game as they inched closer to a .500 record when they hosted James Wood on Friday night at Bing Crosby Stadium.
The Hawks rallied with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning to score the game-winning run in a 2-1 victory over the Colonels.
"We have had our ups and downs this season and we are working [at] being more consistent," Hawks coach Ben Taylor said. "We looked back at our goals that we set at the beginning of the season, and we want to start by getting back to .500. We are working our way back to that. We want to be competitive and we still want to make regionals, and we have guys that are stepping up for us."
Skyline scored in the fourth inning, but James Wood was able to draw even in its next at bat to set up the dramatic finish.
With two outs, Chaz Rutherford connected with a "swinging bunt" and then beat out the throw by Colonels third baseman Daniel Malsch to reach base.
Rutherford then easily reached second on a steal attempt when a pitch from Addison Barber was lost in the dirt.
"I haven't been hitting too well lately and I just wanted to get on base," Rutherford said. "I'm pretty fast and I connected on the hit, and luckily I got to first in time."
Freshman Jacob Sims then roped a base hit to left field and Rutherford came home with what ended up being the deciding run of the game.
"He [Jacob Sims] has come up big for us two nights in a row now," Taylor said. "Last night he had a big three-run home run and tonight he hit the game-winning RBI."
James Wood had one final opportunity in the top of the seventh to tie the game, but fell short. With one out, Russell Repasky connected on a drive to right-center field that reached the outfield wall. With right fielder Joe Bass racing to retrieve the ball, Repasky looked to stretch the hit into extra bases.
As Repasky rounded second, Bass threw a strike to cutoff man Barry Smallwood, who delivered a perfect relay throw to third base to notch the second out of the inning.
"Sometimes the adrenaline is pumping and you're trying to play the game hard and you get caught up in the moment," Colonels coach Jared Mounts said regarding Repasky's failure to hold at second base when running the basepaths. "It was a big play, but we missed some things early on that could have changed a few things."
"Joe's [Bass] arm has been hurting a little bit, but he threw a perfect strike to Barry [Smallwood] to get that out," Rutherford said. "That was definitely a big relief for me."
Rutherford then managed to finish off a complete game pitching performance when he recorded his sixth strikeout against Dakota Orndorff to end the game.
"This is his fourth complete game of the season and he pitched very well coming off three days' rest," Taylor said. "They have a well-coached team and are a class act. This was a big district win for us."