Keyser falls 13-10 to Berkeley Springs to end season

Chapin Jewell
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Despite the loss, Keyser freshman Noah Broadwater was a force for the Golden Tornado, both at bat and on the pitcher's mound.

KEYSER - Playing out over two separate nights, the Keyser versus Berkeley Springs sectional elimination game was full of swings. Full of swings on the scoreboard as runs were scored in bunches, and full of swings in emotion with the season on the line. In the end, despite a spirited comeback attempt from the Golden Tornado, Berkeley Springs would win the day 13-10, ending Keyser’s season.

The Black and Gold finishes with a record of 8-11. Like the elimination game, Keyser’s season was full of swings.

Keyser opened play with three straight losses by a combined tally of 49 runs to 14. Keyser responded with four straight wins to climb over .500 at 4-3. Then three straight losses were followed by four wins in five games to get to 8-7. The Tornado would drop the final four games to finish at 8-11.

Keyser coach Rick Rotruck, standing in for coach Scott Rohrbuagh, assessed the season in the following way.

“Well, I think we learned a lot. We got started off on the wrong foot with winter sports and the way it came. Then, a lot of people don’t understand, we were getting nailed with COVID. This kid would have to quarantine and then this kid would have to quarantine. It really hurt spring sports,” Rotruck explained.

According to Rotruck, “But, it hurt everybody, not just us. It was rough, and hopefully we don’t have to go through that again. But, I don’t think anybody thought we would be 8-11 at the beginning of the year. We played a tough schedule, and I think maybe all but two or three games, we were in every one of them.”

As for the eliminator, when play from Wednesday resumed on Friday, Keyser was facing a 5-3 deficit. In the blink of an eye, the Indians scored five runs in the second inning and three more in the third inning to grow their lead to 10 runs, 13-3.

“You come out here and you’re already down 5-3, then things didn’t go well. When they got down 10, it seemed like they realized that within an inning or two, they could be done. They fought back and gave everyone a chance to see a good game,” Rotruck stated.

Keyser indeed fought back. A six-run Tornado explosion in the fourth inning and an additional run in the fifth inning brought the score much closer, with Berkeley Springs holding a 13-10 lead entering the game’s final two innings.

Noah Broadwater, who aided Keyser’s six-run fourth inning with a three-home run, was effective on the mound in limiting Berkeley Springs offensively to give Keyser a fighting chance at a comeback. The Tornado, however, just couldn’t muster up the offense needed to overcome the 13-10 deficit.

“Noah is a freshman because of his age and what grade he’s in. But he’s no freshman when it comes to playing baseball. You’ll be reading a lot more about Noah at the high school level and after that,” Rotruck stated.

According to Rotruck, “Noah is a workaholic when it comes to baseball. His dad has worked with him, him and Darrick both, and they’re guys that know what it takes to win the game. If I was going to war, I’d want to bring Noah Broadwater with me.”

Rotruck was quick to give credit to Berkeley Springs for holding onto the lead despite the Keyser comeback, and to his own kids for battling when the chips were down.

“Take your hats off to Berkeley Springs. When we started coming back they could have folded it in, but they didn’t. Our kids kept battling, but they made a couple of good plays there at the end of the game. But, as far our kids go, they’re young. We have a lot of young kids, and this will help them grow,” Rotruck explained.