SHEFFIELD TWP. — Brookside got a couple of big breaks, but it made the most of its opportunities as well.
Dudley Taw tied the game with an RBI triple after a controversial call, then Kenny Pierson drove in the winning run with a sharp single down the line as the Cardinals came from behind to beat Columbia 7-6 Thursday in a Patriot Athletic Conference crossover game.
The Raiders (4-3, 2-2) jumped out to a 5-0 lead off Cardinals starter Zach Green, but the Brookside bullpen held Columbia to just one run over 4⅓ innings to allow its offense to rally.
The Raiders’ Matt Cordell opened the scoring with a two-run double in the top of the first, then Tristen Rindfleisch, Jacob Kleinhenz and Matt Cordell had RBI hits in the top of the third.
Brookside answered with four runs in the bottom of the third off Columbia starter Kevin Simon, highlighted by Cameron Drew’s two-run single.
The Raiders added a run in the fourth on Rindfleisch’s RBI single to make it 6-4.
Raiders coach Justin Ramsey had just what he wanted — a two-run lead with his ace pitcher, Michael Boey, coming into the game in the bottom of the fourth.
The Cardinals (5-2, 2-2) didn’t cooperate, scoring single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth to take the lead.
In the fourth, after Boey struck out the first two batters he faced, Ryan Blotzer reached on an infield single. With Taw at the plate, Boey picked Blotzer off first base.
Columbia ran off the field and the Cardinals started looking for their mitts, but the home plate umpire overturned the call, saying he had not signaled for play to begin — despite the ball already being live after a called strike.
Ramsey asked for clarification to no avail. Taw lined the next pitch over right fielder Andrew Augustine’s head for an RBI triple.
Despite the confusing call, Ramsey said Boey wasn’t bothered.
“Michael is a very strong character, he’s very strong mentally,” he said. “He’s one of our top pitchers that we rely on, our ace. For that play to happen like that was unfortunate. … I don’t want to say too much bad here.”
Kyle Houston’s RBI single to right knotted the game at 6. In the bottom of the sixth, Kenny Pierson gave Brookside its first lead of the game with a single just inside third base on a 1-2 curveball from Boey.
“Boey is a great pitcher for Columbia and that was one of the toughest at-bats I’ve ever had,” Pierson said. “He threw a curveball and I got a piece of it and put it down the line. It wasn’t one of my best hits but it got the job done.”
Pierson, who came on in relief to start the sixth, pitched around a one-out error in the top of the seventh to get the win. He struck out Augustine to end the game.
“This team never gives up,” Brookside coach Brad Bomback said. “They haven’t given up since the beginning of the year and they won’t … I can guarantee that. This was a big win for us and we really wanted this one bad.”
As for the questionable call in the fourth, Bomback wasn’t worried one bit.
“We’ve been on the other end of some calls this year,” he said. “I’ll take it any way I can get it.”
Blotzer paced the Cardinals with three hits and three runs scored. Drew had a pair of hits, drove in three and stole two bases.
Rindfleisch, Kleinhenz and Cordell each had three hits for the Raiders.
Pierson allowed just one hit, striking out a pair in two innings to get the win. He wiggled out of a second-and-third-with-one-out jam in the sixth.
“I was struggling early,” Pierson said. “They got the bases loaded in a tie game and I knew I had to shut it down. I trusted my defense and threw what (catcher Matt) Seekins called. … He called a great game behind the plate so I just threw what he called. Our fielders got the job done.”
Ramsey thought that was the turning point in the game.
“We put ourselves in a great spot in the sixth inning,” he said. “Top of the lineup, I got two guys on and sacrificed them over. But we just couldn’t get it done. One out and guys on second and third … you can’t ask for a better start to that inning. For it to be shut down like that was huge.”
Ramsey also wanted to give the Cardinals credit for their comeback.
“They were definitely clutch,” he said. “They hit spots out in the outfield and sprayed the ball where they needed to in clutch situations. You gotta hand it to them, they fought back. I was very confident in Boey and he was ready to go. I didn’t think I was going to get a bad game out of him and I really didn’t. Brookside put the bat on the ball and sprayed it in the spots they needed.”
Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.