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The 2012 Baseball team left RHS on Thursday afternoon for Englewood with high hopes of repeating last year’s state Championship. They were to play Byers, the team they beat in the final game last year, and the Bolts were favored to win. Rye had only one loss this year, a close game against South High at the very first part this season. The T-bolts had won 45 of their last 46 games; Byers was going into the game with 14 wins 4 losses for this season. Senior Jake Eikleberry was the pitcher for Byers Bulldogs, and senior Nick Highberger was on the mound for the T-Bolts for the 12:00 game at Harry Wise Field.
After the seven regular innings the game was tied at 2 runs each. In the top of the eighth inning Eiklebery, who pitched the entire game, got a long hit to the left field fence. The Bulldogs brought him in on a single and a T-Bolt error, and followed with a two-run homer, giving Byers the lead 5 to 2. The Bolts went three up and three down in the bottom of the inning, ending their season and hopes for repeat state title.
The T-Bolts did not hit well through the game. They made two errors in the top of the third inning, allowing two Bulldogs’ runs to score, and putting the score at 0 to 2. In the bottom of the third inning Trent Hughes walked and then stole second. Trent moved to third on a grounder. Then Nick got a base hit to score Trent, and Junior followed with a single, scoring Nick. The score remained tied at 2 all until the 8th and final inning.
After the game Coach Larry Milligan remarked, “We are very disappointed, but you cannot take away everything that we did and accomplished this whole year and our 22 to 2 record. We hit well all year, but we could not hit Friday. We had the winning run at third with 1 out and couldn’t get it done. We just didn’t find a way to win. Junior was 2 for 3 until that last bat but he struck out; a hit would have won the game for us. However, we are 47 and 2 for the past two years. We have come a long way and I am proud of our team.” Congratulations to the Rye Thunderbolts on such a fine season overall.