BATS ALIVE! Keyser explodes for win over Berkeley Springs

Chapin Jewell
Special to the News Tribune
Keyser's Bradley Sommers crosses the plate for one of Keyser's 24 runs in their win over Berkeley Springs.
Keyser's Andrew Rotruck is shown at the plate hitting a bases loaded triple that drove three runs in.  Rotruck was credited with a total of four RBI's in the win for Keyser.

KEYSER - The headline for this article very easily could read “Keyser tops Berkeley Springs 24-14.”  If it did, however, the reader may be confused into thinking that the Golden Tornado and Indians had put aside baseball for a spell to square off on the football field.  Don’t let the score fool you, Keyser topped Berkeley Springs 24-14 in a baseball game Thursday evening.

The Golden Tornado started the year off with three straight losses, one by 10 runs to Musselman, a heartbreaker to Hampshire that was within their grasps, and then to be honest, a 21-1 shellacking at the hands of Northern Garrett.  Keyser needed a win for momentum’s sake, and they got it.

Facing a 14-6 deficit entering the home side of the fourth inning, the Keyser bats exploded, so much so, that the Golden Tornado had 20 at bats in the inning and ended up producing 15 runs.  When the smoke finally cleared, what had been an eight-run deficit entering the bottom of the fourth inning for Keyser, ended up with a seven-run advantage (21-14) for the Golden Tornado entering the top of the fifth inning.

“It was like a snowball rolling downhill,” Keyser coach Scott Rohrbaugh said of Keyser’s incredible fourth inning. “They had to go to their bullpen. Their pitcher was having trouble finding the strike zone. Once that happened, we got a groove going. Our guys were just sitting and waiting, being patient, picking out a pitch to hit, and it worked out for us.”

Berkeley Springs laid an egg in the top of the fifth inning with Keyser now needing only three more runs to end the game early.  They got them.  Keyser scored the three runs they needed in the bottom stretch of the fifth inning to 10-run rule the Indians and claim the 24-14 victory.

“Well, the same thing. When we started, with the pitching we couldn’t find the strike zone. But, like I told the kids, the key of tonight is that we never quit. Even when they scored we kept coming back in and scoring. Eventually, we got the momentum going and took control of the game,” Rohrbaugh explained.

It's one thing to simply get a win when you need one, and Keyser needed one.  It’s another thing altogether to get a victory over a sectional opponent, like Berkeley Springs, because those are the ones that count the most.

“The thing about it, this is a sectional opponent, so this win, it really means something. It makes us 1-0 in the section. We go to Grafton Saturday, which is another section team. If we can get a win out there, we’ll be 2-0,” Rohrbaugh stated. “It’s nice to beat other teams, you want to try and win them all. But, when you look at the big picture, these games are the most important.”

According to Rohrbaugh, “Everybody goes to the playoffs. So, we’re looking to be the number one seed in our section and that’s all based on head to head competition in your section.”

Darrick Broadwater went the first two innings on the mound for Keyser.  Gavin Root came in and finished the final three innings. Broadwater stuck out one, walked three, and gave up nine runs on six hits.  Root struck out six, walked two, and gave up five runs on two hits.

Tyler Barney took the loss for Berkeley Springs on the mound.

Offensively for Keyser everybody contributed.  Andrew Rotruck and Darrick Broadwater each had triples.  Broadwater had a double, his brother Noah Broadwater had two doubles.  Seth Healy and Logan Rotruck also had a double for the Black and Gold.

Collecting multiple hits for Keyser on the day were Darrick Broadwater and Logan Rotruck with four each; Caden Youngblood tallied three hits; Gavin Root, Noah Broadwater, Seth Healy and Konner Bennett each tallied two hits apiece.

Seth Healy and Andrew Rotruck led the way in RBI’s with five and four respectively.  Logan Rotruck tallied three RBI’s; Noah Broadwater, Darrick Broadwater and Konner Bennett each contributed with two RBI’s, with Gavin Root offering an RBI as well.

Berkeley Springs was led offensively by Evan Thompson, Jordan Miller, and Mitchell Miller with two hits each.  Cole Oursler tallied three RBI’s, while Thompson, Caleb Stotler and Mitchel Miller contributed two RBI’s each.  Oursler also hit a triple, and both Jordan Miller and Mitchell Miller had one double each.

One impressive aspect of the win for Keyser, and the team in general, is that overall, they’re very young.

“I’ve got a young team with just three seniors. The majority of my team is made up of sophomores and freshmen, with a few juniors,” Rohrbaugh explained.

Young or old, experienced or green, to a player, there were a lot of smiles to go around in the post-game celebration for the Golden Tornado.

“The kids had a good time. The thing to take away from this is that they didn’t quit,” Rohrbaugh explained.

Keyser (1-3) next travels to Grafton on Saturday.