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Last Saturday the RHS Baseball team had to win two games to progress on the State Baseball Tournament in Denver. Their first game was against Center and Nick Highberger was the starting pitcher. After Center went three up three down in the top of the first inning, the Bolts went to work and put seven runs on the scoreboard. Center never really was in the game and the final score was 20 to 0 and a win for the T-Bolts.
Meanwhile, Swink was able to beat a solid Limon team in a close 4 to 2 game, and the Regional Championship game would be between Rye and the Swink Lions. Rye fans were very glad to see Denton Keys return to the mound as the starting pitcher. Nick was the leadoff batter for the Bolts in the top of the first inning and doubled down the third baseline. Junior Ortiz popped up to the second baseman, DJ Drury walked, and Seth Keys struck out. With two outs and men on first and second Denton stepped up to the plate. Nick and DJ both were able to steal bases, and Denton walked loading them up. Tyler Milligan was thrown out at first to end the top of the inning with no runs. Denton threw two strikeouts in the bottom of the first inning, but Swink was able to score one run on one hit. The Bolts were down 0 to 1.
In the top of the second inning, Clay Kliplfel singled to right field to start things off for Rye. Trent Hughes bunted and was out at first, moving Clay to second. But Rye was not able to bring in any runs and the score remained 0 to 1. In the bottom of the second inning, Denton threw only thirteen pitches, as he got three strikeouts to end things for the Lions.
In the top of the third inning Nick singled up the middle, then stole second, and got to third on a passed ball. Junior grounded out, scoring Nick and tying the score 1 to 1. DJ doubled to center field, and Seth struck out. Denton stepped up to the plate. DJ was able to steal third base and get in good scoring position. Denton walked, and Aaron Doub went in to run for him. Tyler Milligan came up to bat, and Aaron stole second. Then Tyler hit to the left field corner scoring two runs. Clay hit to the first baseman to end the top of the inning with Rye ahead 3 to 1.
Three more Denton Keys strikeouts had the T-Bolts back up to bat. Trent led off with a walk and Tristan Hamler was his courtesy runner. Frankie Petkosek was at the plate, and the pitcher balked, moving Tristan to second. Frankie hit to second base and was thrown out. Nick was then thrown out at first, moving Tristan to third, but Junior ended the inning with no runs, the score still 3 to 1. The Lions added one run, although Denton struck out two more batters in bottom of inning four; the Bolts hanging on 3 to 2.
To start off the fifth, DJ hit to center field and the ball got away from the center fielder, allowing the speedster DJ an “in the park” homer. After Seth struck out and Denton walked, Tyler singled to center. Then Clay doubled to right field and scored a run. Next, Trent also doubled to right field brining in two more. Trent moved to third base on another balk and Frankie’s single scored Trent. Frankie was put out trying to steal second, and with two outs Nick blasted a triple to center field. Junior ended the inning with a fly ball to the center fielder but not before the Bolts added five runs and led 8 to 2.
The Lions did not score in the fifth, and the Bolts were up again. Rye added one run in the sixth inning to bring the score 9 to 2. Swink added one run in the bottom of sixth, the score now 9 to 3. In the top of the seventh, Trent singled to left. Jared Scott was the courtesy runner, and he stole second base. Frankie’s fly ball was caught, and with Nick up, Jared got to third. Nick singled to center, and Jared scored. Cody Gookin went in to run for Nick. However, Junior was out at first and Cody was thrown out at second. The score was 10 to 3.
Nick went in to pitch in the bottom of the seventh, and with two strikeouts and a quick out at second, the ballgame was over and the T-Bolts were the 2012 Regional One Champions. They will appear in the State Champion Baseball Tournament in Denver next weekend. After the game, Coach Milligan remarked, “The games were about what we expected. We were a little surprised that Swink upset Limon. Swink has some new coaches that are doing a great job. Denton did okay. He controlled the game, although he struggled a little. DJ swung the bat well. Tyler had four RBIs in finals, and Frankie also hit well. We are looking forward to this coming weekend.”