The Rusk Orioles extended the Texas Teen-Age Baseball 10U Tight Base State Tournament into a fifth day by defeating the Blooming Grove Lions, 5-1, Thursday night at the Massey Sports Complex.
Rusk had slipped into the elimination bracket following a 5-4 loss to Blooming Grove Wednesday night. The Orioles then upended the Van Cobras, 14-2, earlier Thursday to earn a rematch with the Lions.
The third and deciding game between Rusk and Blooming Grove will take place at 10 a.m. today with the winner earning the TTAB 10U Tight Base state championship.
In Thursday’s contest, Rusk struck for a pair of runs in the top of the second inning, which proved to be all the offense it needed.
Lathan Moore led off with a single off Blooming Grove starting pitcher Trenton Nicholson, while Jaren Driver followed with a double. With two runners on and no outs, Garrett Brooks dropped down an RBI squeeze bunt to plate Moore and put the Orioles on the board. Driver then came home when Joe Reasonover reached on a Blooming Grove error.
Rusk tacked on a third run in the top of the third as Brayden Boudreaux singled up the middle to start the frame. With one out, Boudreaux scored as Moore reached on another Lion miscue.
Blooming Grove notched its lone run in the bottom of the third as Elijah Rios reached on an errant throw. Later, Rios scored on an RBI fielder’s choice by Garris Goff.
Rusk pitcher Brett Rawlinson gave up just one run and struck out eight batters, while issuing three walks. Blooming Grove used three pitchers — Nicholson, Gabriel Watkins and Rios. The Lions’ pitching staff issued six walks and fanned four batters.
The Orioles added two more insurance runs in the top of the fifth as Boudreaux reached on an error, then Tarrant Sunday followed with a walk to start the frame. An RBI ground out by Moore plated Boudreaux, while Sunday scored on a wild pitch during Brooks’ at-bat.
Blooming Grove pieced together a two-out threat in the bottom of the sixth and final inning as Bryce Richards singled and Elijah Haden drew a walk — both with two outs. But Rawlinson induced a ground out by Rios to shortstop to end the contest.