There are tell-tale signs when a pitcher has lost his stuff. Two of the most noticeable signs happened to Otterville Eagle junior hurler Ryan Benny in the forth inning of Friday’s game at Smithton.
His Eagle teammates had just staked him to a 4-2 lead with three runs in the top of the fourth on a sunny, toasty afternoon. However, when Benny took the hill in the bottom of the fourth, the zip was gone from his fastball and his pitches started rising in the strike zone.
Smithton made Benny pay the price, scoring five runs in the bottom of the fourth and added seven more in the fifth to post a come-from-behind 14-4 win in a game that ended after five innings on the 10-run rule.
Smithton, 2-1 and winners of two straight, collected 13 hits in the fourth and fifth innings combined, They ended the game on the mercy rule on a two-run single up the middle by Austin Nowell. For the game, the Tigers collected 20 hits.
Cameron Westermier followed his three-triple game Thursday night against Stover with four hits in four trips to the plate, drove in a run, scored one and walked once. Ryan Crawford went 3-for-3 with a walk, scored a run and had an RBI. Winning pitcher Nick Moulton and Jeremy Bell had three hits. Dane Apsher and Beau Kratzer each had two hits, as all nine Smithton starters had at least one hit in the game.
In what started out as a pitcher’s duel between Moulton and Benny, Smithton took a 1-0 lead in the first when Justin Carver singled stole second and scored on a single by Moulton.
Otterville tied the game at 1-1 in the third when Austin Fredrick stroked his second single of the game and came around to score on two-out double by Rockett.
Smithton went back on top in the third when Moulton tripled down the line in left and scored on Jeremy Bell’s RBI single as Smithton led 2-1 after three.
An RBI triple by Justin Halgren touched off a three-run rally for the Eagles in the top of the fourth. Stephanie Oswald, 2-for-3 in the game, singled to score Halgren to put Otterville up 3-1. Tyler Perkins followed with a three-bagger as the Eagles pushed their lead to 4-2 going into the Smithton half of the fourth.
That’s when the roof fell in on Benny, who took the loss. Smithton batted around in both the fourth and fifth, scoring 12 runs on 13 hits and chasing Benny from the hill with Smithton on top 12-4 in the fifth. Rockett finished up.
Rockett went 3-for-4 at the plate and Stephanie Oswald 2-for-3 to lead the nine-hit Otterville offense. Moulton went the distance for Smithton to pick up the win. He allowed four runs, (three earned), nine hits, struck out six and walked two.
Otterville, coached by former Smith-Cotton catching great Brent Hodge, fell to 0-3 on the season. Photos by Randy Kirby, Sedalia News Journal.