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NEWCOMERSTOWN -- A pair of talented senior hurlers hooked up in Monday night's annual Orange and Black backyard battle with host Newcomerstown High taking on RIdgewood High on the baseball diamond in Inter-Valley Conference action.
And after seven tough innings, it was the Generals behind the right arm of Braeden Smith slipping past his counterpart George Brode and the Trojans by a final count of 3-2.
RHS trailed the entire night against Brode until finally breaking through in the seventh inning with a pair of runs and the comeback win.
Trailing 2-1 Ridgewood junior Kolton Alexander coaxed a lead-off walk from Brode to open the seventh frame, freshman Cale Roberts then came off the bench to execute a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Alexander into scoring position at second base. Freshman Connor Kunze then delivered an RBI single to center field to plate Alexander to tie the game at 2-2.
Junior Zach Wright followed with an RBI base hit to bring Kunze home and give the Generals their first lead of the game at 3-2.
"That's why you play seven innings...we fell behind early but stayed around," RHS coach Chad Lahna offered. "Then we had some guys step up when we needed them and got the win."
On the other side, the loss was a tough pill to swallow for Brode and the Trojans.
"George is our workhorse and is the pitcher I want in there to bring us home," Newcomerstown coach Robb Hendershot explained. "He had pitched really well to the seventh and I felt he was our best option in the seventh to close it out."
"I felt we played very hard tonight against a good pitcher in Smith. He's their best pitcher and George is our top guy...it was a good match-up" Hendershot added. "We just couldn't quite close the door at the end, but that's the game of baseball."
Smith took the mound in the bottom of the seventh with the 3-2 lead and promptly set the Trojans down 1-2-3 to close out the IVC road win for the Generals.
Smith allowed just to singled in his complete game effort, finishing with eight Ks and issued just two walks to earn the victory.
Newcomerstown jumped out to a quick lead by pushing across two runs in the first inning off Smith with senior Bailey Guy scoring an unearned run on an RBI groundout by senior Joel Ebersbach and senior Braden Russell scoring on a wild pitch.
But that would be all the offense the Trojans could muster off Smith the rest of the game to slip to 1-2 overall and 1-2 in IVC play.
"Both pitchers threw the ball well tonight," Lahna stated. "We got behind but Braeden kept us in the game by attacking the strike zone all night...he did a nice job."
Wright stroked a pair of singles with his game-winning RBI to pace Ridgewood (2-4, 1-1 IVC), with Smith collecting a second inning double.
Newcomerstown's two hits in the game were singles from Guy and freshman Gavin Weaver.