Late arrivals at Knights Field Tuesday afternoon found runs galore on the scoreboard after one inning.
The remainder of the game turned into a fast-paced pitcher’s duel.
Scoring four times in the bottom of the first, Cave Spring overcame a 2-0 deficit and held off Patrick Henry for the 7-4 River Ridge District baseball win.
The win leaves Cave Spring in control of its own destiny in the River Ridge title race, but it won’t come easy. The Knights finish the regular season with 4 games in 6 days, starting Thursday afternoon against fellow-contender Salem at Kiwanis Field. A pair against Southwest County rival Hidden Valley follow on Saturday and Monday, with the regular season finale against Pulaski County at Knights Field on Tuesday.
Tuesday, PH came out of the gate with two quick runs in the top of the first. Emerson Woodrum led off the game with a single, and after a walk to Robert Demattia and fielders choice groundout, Joey Webb dropped a single down the right field line for the first Patriot run. PH would tack on a second run on a wild pitch to head to the bottom half of the inning up 2-0.
Cave Spring wasted no time getting on the board as leadoff batter Logan Altizer was hit by a pitch and Jalen Buster drew a base on balls. The pair executed a double steal before a walk to Caleb Pritchard loaded the bases with one out. Altizer scored on a wild pitch for the first Knights’ run, and one out later Grant Wilson doubled to the fence in left-center, scoring two. Wyatt Hage added a RBI single to complete the 4-run frame.
The starting pitchers took over, with Cave Spring’s Trey Hodson tossing goose eggs at the Patriots through the next three innings. On the PH side, starter Adam Benson blanked the Knights until walks to Austin Emery and Buster, followed by a double to the gap in left-center by Hodson pushed the Cave Spring lead to 6-2 after four innings,.
The Knights would add an insurance run in the sixth when Buster scored on a wild pitch. Patrick Henry plated a pair in their last at-bat on singles by Emerson, Carter Mason and Spencer Wright, along with a hit batter, but the threat came to an end when a PH baserunner was gunned down at third for the final out.
Hodson picked up the win for Cave Spring, with Wilson earning a save by rule since he pitched the final three innings. Benson took the loss for PH.
“It was a smooth game for us,” Cave Spring head coach Ricky Lonker noted afterward. “We played today like we practiced yesterday. We threw strikes and avoided errors. That kind of play keeps things moving and keeps the fielders from getting bored.”