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CENTRAL HIGH —
A trademark this season of the Central High Bronchos has been their ability to comeback from a deficit and claim victory.
However, Monday afternoon saw someone else pull the same tactic against CHHS on their own field as well.
After holding a 3-2 lead for six innings, Healdton stormed back with four runs in the top of the seventh inning to claim the Red Dirt Classic championship.
“Getting your three hole senior up to bat in a big situation is what you want,” Healdton coach Toney Brown said. “We’d kept chipping away and finally those hits started to fall for us. We didn’t play our best game for five innings, but we were able to play our best for two innings and pull it out.”
With two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the seventh, the Bronchos looked as though they were going to dodge a serious bullet and escape with a tie game.
Enter Lane Stewart, who connected with a hit to deep center field which found the grass, and eventually helped the Bulldogs find the lead at 6-3 after three runs scored.
Stewart was stranded at second to end the inning, but the damage had been done.
Try as they might the Bronchos couldn’t muster any offense in the bottom half of the inning, as Stewart also made an impact on the mound, throwing a complete game.
“I felt like both teams played a good ball game all the way through,” Central coach Harley Nelson said. “Now with that said, we had a mistake in center field with the bases loaded after a double play ball. It is what it is and we’re going to move on from it.”
CHHS initially took the lead in the bottom of the first inning courtesy of a Jarrett Sparks RBI single to left field which scored Joseph Flood to make it 1-0.
Kade Taylor made it 2-0 with an RBI to deep right center field, before being thrown out at third base in the bottom of the second inning.
After Healdton cut the deficit to 2-1 in the top of the fifth inning thanks to a Trace Veal RBI single, the Bronchos got one back when Flood collected an RBI single on a bloop to left field.
In the top of the sixth, Donn Spellman scored on a throwing error to make it 3-2, before his teammate Chris Choate scored on a walk to tie the game in the top of the seventh.
Sparks took the loss on the mound for the Bronchos, throwing a complete game. He allowed six runs on five hits with four strikeouts and five walks.
Stewart picked up the win on the mound for the Bulldogs, allowing three runs on five hits with three walks and nine strikeouts.