Roscoe goes the distance, smacks game-winning single in seventh

Published 7:13 pm Monday, March 23, 2015

DAVID CUCCHIARA | DAILY NEWS PITCHERS DUEL: Austin Roscoe won the battle over Pungo’s Will Respess on Monday. Roscoe pitched seven innings, allowing one run on three hits and striking out six.

PITCHERS DUEL: Austin Roscoe won the battle over Pungo’s Will Respess on Monday. Roscoe pitched seven innings, allowing one run on three hits and striking out six.

Pungo ace Will Respess took a no-hitter into the seventh inning on Monday and toyed with perfection, but in the end it was Terra Ceia that escaped the Susiegray McConnell Complex with the 2-1 win against a county rival.

With his arm and his bat, the Knights’ Austin Roscoe capitalized on a shot at redemption against a Raiders team that picked up two victories in similar fashion last season. Matching Respess, Roscoe went the distance, striking out six and allowing just seven batters to reach — three hits, three walks and two errors. But the Terra Ceia ace’s biggest impact came in the bottom of the seventh, following a clutch sacrifice fly to left from seventh grader Aaron Bell, who entered off the bench in the fifth inning, After being down 1-2 in the count with two outs and the game tied at one, Roscoe connected with a fastball and shot a single through the six hole that scored Kevin Sickert from second base.

“I’m just so happy for him,” said head coach Jason Wynne. “Last year when they had (Cole) Woolard on the mound, that was his team, but Austin hung around. Today, it was all about him — he did the work on the mound and at the plate. We finally had some more plate discipline in the seventh inning to get some more runners on. Seventh grader Aaron Bell had a huge hit … huge hit to set up Austin. We had some guys step up when we needed it.”

Leading up to the final frame, Respess proved virtually unhittable. The junior had tossed six fairly economical and scoreless frames, posting seven strikeouts and just two walks. But after sophomore Tyler Hendrix broke up the no-hit bid on the third pitch of the inning, it all began to unravel for Respess and the Pungo infield.

“He threw an outstanding game through six,” said Raiders’ head coach Ethan Coltrain. “That one hit really didn’t bother us. I can’t fault his effort today. He did a great job … It was a good pitching duel. It was a great ballgame. We just didn’t get a lucky break today.”

Despite a poor offensive showing from the Knights, the Raiders were hardly better against Roscoe, but the visitors would strike first in the fifth inning. A walk to Archer Johnson, followed by a single from John Langley and a costly error by the left fielder, placed two runners in scoring position with one out. After Logan Van Staalduinen grounded out to third, Christian Cadle reached on an infield single to short, scoring Johnson from third and putting Pungo up 1-0.

“I was just trying to throw strikes and I could trust my defense,” Roscoe said after the game. “We’re a lot better team this year. When they hit the ball, I know they’ll make the play. After what happened last year, both times, we all needed this.”

A scoreless sixth inning gave way to the walk-off win in the bottom of the seventh, marking the first Knights victory over the Raiders in more than three years.

With the win, Terra Ceia improves to 5-2 (2-2 Tarheel Independent Conference), while Pungo drops to 1-3 (0-3 TIC).

“It brings a renewed spirit and starts a fire in you, so hopefully we grab some momentum from that,” Wynne said. “Coach speak, I look at every game as a must win, but there’s a little more importance on this game, not only with the rivalry but to keep pace with Lawrence. We want to be able to face them again in the end. This is a great win for the kids, but we need to get right back at it.”

The Knights will play host to Greenville Christian on Tuesday before conference for Hobgood comes to Washington on Thursday. Pungo will face Ridgecroft in Belhaven on Thursday in hopes of picking up its first conference win.