By Greg Gulas
In less than 48 hours, South Range went from tied in the Inter Tri-County Tier One standings to a full two-game cushion.
It’s Springfield which now finds itself with its back to the wall and having to play catch-up if the Tigers hope to get back into the league race.
A day after spotting the Tigers three first-inning runs before posting a come-from-behind 4-3 victory, South Range raced to the early 3-0 advantage and then withstood a furious seventh-inning rally by Springfield for a 3-2 victory and season sweep over their arch-rivals.
Mason Miller scattered five hits over six innings while Bill Goodall’s two triples knocked in two of the Raiders’ three tallies as South Range posted its 10th consecutive league victory.
Miller, who last Thursday required 15 stitches to close a gash on his tongue after he collided with teammate Cory Deal in a game against Crestview, said he tried not to think about the injury while he was pitching.
“It’s definitely easier to pitch when you have the lead, especially in the early innings,” Miller said. “I felt pretty good the entire game and thought about anything and everything other than that injury.
“Defensively, we made a few errors but made plays when we had to and that was key. Also, we have plenty of confidence in our offense and they got us going today right from the start.”
Goodall’s first triple in the first inning plated Zach Thorpe as the Raiders took a 1-0 lead.
Dan Macinga’s run-scoring single an inning later also scored Thorpe as South Range (14-3, 10-0) increased its lead to two runs, making it 3-0 a batter later when Goodall’s second triple in as many innings allowed Macinga to cross the plate.
“I was just struggling at the plate over the past week so today I just wanted to make sure that I was only going to swing at pitches in the strike zone,” Goodall said. “On my first triple I got an outside pitch so I went to the opposite field while the second time, the pitch was inside so I was able to pull it.
“It’s nice to have a two-game lead in the league, but we must now concentrate on our game with Crestview this Thursday so we cannot celebrate too much.”
Last year as a freshman, Tigers pitcher Dalton Donachie was hit hard by the Raiders on their home field.
Now a sophomore and the staff ace, he allowed just five hits and none over the final three innings.
He struck out the side twice, registering nine strikeouts overall while allowing just one walk and a hit batsman.
“Dalton threw a great game today and you can just see how he has really stepped up for us,” Springfield coach Matt Weymer said. “Today, you witnessed two great high school pitching performances. Yesterday, we got up early and let it get away from us while today our approach for six innings was terrible.
“The last inning we were right there. We preach discipline and today we just didn’t have that offensively.”
Springfield (11-4, 9-2) loaded the bases with no one out in the seventh inning, scoring twice on a sacrifice fly by Hunter Snyder and single by Cody Pitzo.
Goodall, who came on in relief of Miller when the bases were jammed, then struck out Joey Wrask to end the game and earn a save.
Miller moved to 4-0 on the season with the decision.
Pitzo had three of the Tigers’ six hits on the night.