Three was the magic number for Rogers on Tuesday at Van Buren’s Riggs Field.
The Mounties scored three times in the seventh to win the first game, 6-5, then rallied for another three-spot in the sixth inning of the second game for a 6-4 victory to complete a 7A/6A-West doubleheader sweep against the Pointers.
"In this conference, you play so many tight games," Rogers coach Matt Melson said. "We’ve been there before and we know how to win a tight game. We fell behind, but we knew we were not done."
In both games, Van Buren seemed to have the victory in hand, but defensive miscues doomed the Pointers.
"Our pitching has been fine, but we seemed to have an inning where we have some breakdowns and give up some runs," Van Buren coach David Loyd said. "It’s not from a lack of effort or a lack of trying. We just have to get better and learn how to finish games."
Just when it seemed like the Pointers (3-12, 0-4) had control of the first game, the Mounties (7-5, 2-2) rallied and took it away.
Van Buren built a 4-0 lead after three innings, and led 5-3 after getting an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth.
In the top of the seventh, the Mounties loaded the bases on a hit by pitch and consecutive bunt singles. One out later, Brett Damico grounded a ball through the hole at shortstop plating two runs to tie the game.
"The biggest hits in the inning were the bunts that went about 10 feet down the line," Melson said. "I was proud of the way we kept fighting. We didn’t play our best, but we won and I will take that every time."
Brett Gentz walked to reload the bases. Carter Fortis grounded to the pitcher, who threw home for the first out. The catcher then threw the first to get the double play, but the ball hit Fortis, allowing the lead run to score.
Loyd argued with the home plate umpire, claiming that Fortis was outside the running lane and should have been called out. The umpire, though, ruled that he was in the path and the run stood.
The Pointers attempted to rally in the seventh, as Caleb Bauman singled and moved to second on a balk. Damico, who came on in relief in the inning, then struck out the next three batters to end the threat and clinch the win.
Van Buren had built an early 4-0 advantage thanks to single runs in the first (on an unearned run) and second (a Quentin Ray RBI double) innings, and then added two more in the third thanks to a two-run single by Hunter Hogan.
Rogers got to within 4-3 in the fifth thanks to a sacrifice fly by Camdon Myers and a two-out, two-run homer by Austin Griffen.
In the nightcap, Van Buren scored twice in both the fourth and fifth innings to take a 4-3 lead. In the fifth, Hunter Ryan had a run-scoring groundout to tie the game, followed by a bloop single by Jake Bogner that gave the Pointers their only lead of the game.
In the top of the sixth inning, though, Rogers got three unearned runs thanks to two fielding errors by the Van Buren shortstop, the last one letting the lead runs score.
After that, Rogers reliever Nolin Farnan put the game away, only allowing a sixth inning hit and seventh inning walk to Van Buren.
Rogers 6, Van Buren 5
Rogers 000 030 3 — 6 9 2
Van Buren 112 001 0 — 5 8 1
Gentz, Farnan (4), Damico (7) and Griffen; Eversole, Bauman (7) and Hogan. W — Farnan. L — Bauman. Sv — Damico. HR—Griffen.
Rogers 6, Van Buren 4
Rogers 000 303 0 — 6 7 2
Van Buren 000 220 0 — 4 5 2
Damico, Farnan (6) and Griffen; Bauman and Hogan. W — Damico. L — Bauman. Sv — Farnan.