Chris Muse-Fisher’s game-ending strikeout of the only batter he faced stranded runners at the corners Saturday as host Oak Ridge held on for a 4-3 Delta River League win over Ponderosa.
The Bruins’ uprising began after Trojan starter Austin Ales easily retired the first two in the top of the seventh; he needed one more out. Pinch-hitter Blake Yaeger drew a walk, Jerrod Bravo rifled a single to center and Reed Omohundro’s single the opposite way made it a one-run game. Muse-Fisher’s swinging strikeout of one of Ponderosa’s key hitters ended the game.
“Chris is a big-time guy. Ales’ pitch count was around 100-ish and we were trying to locate him but he started to miss a little more … a little more … so it was a gut feeling (to take Ales out),” Oak Ridge coach Todd Melton said. “This was a good ballgame today and a couple of plays decided it.”
One of those plays was Drew Reischl’s clutch hit that tore up the alley into left-center field to plate Jake Wehr and Ales with two down in the second just when it looked as if Omohundro would pitch out of the jam.
“It was a full count and he (Omohundro) hung a curve and I unloaded,” Reischl said. “Luckily there were two on base.”
Unlucky for the Bruins in the third because their bid to answer was denied. Ponderosa loaded the bases on Zach Jones and Tyler Evanoff’s back-to-back singles and a hit-by-pitch but Omohundro lined to Wehr at the third base bag and Jones was doubled up.
“It’s a tough loss and it came down to one hanging curve (Reischl’s double) and one base hit (by the Bruins). We battled and had our most skilled hitter up at the end but just couldn’t execute,” said Omohundro before addressing the double play. “I had an opposite field approach but with two strikes I shorted up and tried to take it down the line on the inside pitch.”
Omohundro did everything he could both on the mound and at the plate. The junior gave up just six hits in six innings and drove in Ponderosa’s second run in the fifth with a two-out single up the middle. The Bruins’ first run was delivered by Matt Poulin, who doubled in Campodonico with a drive to right that found a jet stream and carried.
Ponderosa had other chances but couldn’t cash in — Nick Perata tripled with one down in the first and didn’t score and the Bruins left several others in scoring position as the game went on.
“The difference was that they got the key hits with runners on base while we lined into a double play or would get our hits with two outs. That was our problem,” Ponderosa coach Dave White said. “But we out-hit them and were right there.”
Credit Ales who bore down when the Bruins reached base.
“My mindset was to just go hard and give them a different look,” Ales said. “I felt we were a solid team today and it was nice to pitch with the lead.”
Oak Ridge added runs in the third on Zach Mahon’s single and in the fourth on Luke Eicher’s sacrifice fly. Both Evanoff and Omohundro went 2-for-4 for the Bruins.
The teams played again Monday at Ponderosa. See villagelife.com for score.