Fifth-inning fireworks lift Ritchie County

WILLIAMSTOWN – Visiting Ritchie County broke a 6-6 tie with a 10-run fifth inning – that saw only four Rebel hits, but five Williamstown errors – to down the host Yellowjackets 16-6 Wednesday.

The win increased Ritchie’s record to 5-3 while Williamstown dropped to 2-6 on the season.

The Rebels had it all going their way early on with a five-run top of the first, teeing off on ‘Jacket starter Kody Rhyne for seven hits.

After a first-out fly ball, Ritchie banged out five straight hits, capped by RBI singles off the bats of Rayce Bolin and Alex Lipscomb, followed by a run-scoring double by Orlando Burgy. Then after a pop-out, Cory Farley added an RBI single and Brody Drinko delivered the second run-scoring double of the frame.

But Williamstown fought back to gain a 5-5 standoff by the bottom of the second. The ‘Jackets got a run back in their first turn at-bat on a Rebel error, then tacked on four more tallies in the second as Recce Westfall singled in a run, Jake Bondi and Jake Tracewell walked back-to-back with the bases loaded and Dakota Watson skied a sacrifice fly to left field.

Ritchie, though, forged a 5-4 lead in its half of the third on another Farley RBI single, only to see the Yellowjackets again knot the count in the last of the third on a sacrifice fly from Tracewell.

Then came the deciding fifth inning. Ritchie sent 14 hitters to the plate and through the first nine batters had scored four runs on Drinko’s two-RBI single, an error and a Lipscomb RBI single. But by the time the next four Rebel hitters had finished batting, it was 16-6 as Ritchie had plated six more runs.

An unsuccessful fielder’s choice play at home let in a run with the wide throw enabling another run to also score. A pair of fielding miscues sent two more runs home and finally a passed ball and double steal produced Ritchie’s last two tallies,

“We kind of let Williamstown get back in it,” said Ritchie head coach Dan Vanoy. “But we hung in there, kept battling. We’re a pretty gritty team. One thing about our guys, they don’t give up.”

Tyler Reed, who took over on the mound for Ritchie in the second inning, finished the final four innings to pick up the win.

“As he (Tyler) works, he gets better,” noted Vanoy. “He’s done that all along. He’s got some good pitches.”

For Williamstown head coach Terry Smith, it was simply a story of “after we got back in the game and everything seemed to be going pretty good for us, it all just seemed to fall apart. We just didn’t make plays. And against a team that hits pretty well like these guys (the Rebels) do, you can’t afford all those errors (seven total for Williamstown in the game).”