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Higbee scores winning run on wild pitch

Justin Addison, Editor/Publisher
Posted 4/17/24

A wild pitch by Northeast (Cairo) pitcher Logan Hughes allowed Higbee senior Will Spilman to score the game’s winning run from third base in the bottom of the sixth inning to deliver a 1-0 …

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Higbee scores winning run on wild pitch


A wild pitch by Northeast (Cairo) pitcher Logan Hughes allowed Higbee senior Will Spilman to score the game’s winning run from third base in the bottom of the sixth inning to deliver a 1-0 victory for the Tigers on Friday.

The pitch came after nearly six straight innings of scoreless baseball. Higbee coach Ryan Vogelgesang credits the sharp eye of batter Blake Boggs, who, with two outs on the board, took ball two with a two-strike count. It was the first at-bat of the game for the freshman, who entered for injured teammate Landon Tuggle.

“He took a really good two-strike changeup in the dirt for a ball,” Vogelgesang said about Boggs’ at-bat. “That ball ended up getting through the catcher and allowed our run to score. I think that’s a play that will go unnoticed by most but went a long way in helping us get that win.”

The score was set up by a three-hit rally, sparked by a leadoff single from nine-hole hitter Celton Crawford, who reached on a fly ball to left. He was later thrown out at second on a single from Spilman, who advanced to third on a line-drive double to left field by senior Derek Rockett.

Higbee escaped the one-run game with the win, improving the Tigers’ record to 8-2 overall this season.

“This was a big game for us with Cairo being in our district,” Vogelgesang explained. “They’re a well-coached team, and that program has a long history of success. Our boys are always fired up to compete with a team like that.”

The one-run decision is the only mark on an otherwise unblemished record for Cairo after opening the season with eight straight wins.

Vogelgesang said he expected the Bearcats to play small ball and spent most of the week preparing bunt coverages. Higbee’s defense was solid, with zero errors on the day. Likewise, Cairo committed no errors, but the wild pitch with a runner on third was the difference in the game.

Higbee ace Derek Rockett earned the win on the win on the mound. He allowed seven hits and struck out 12, with zero walks. 

Cairo center fielder Charles Chrisman had his team’s only extra-base hit, a double to lead off the bottom of the seventh. The Bearcats came one base away from tying the game when Chrisman advanced to third on a single by Dalton Taylor before Rockett delivered three straight strikeouts to end the game.

“Defensively, Cairo hit Derek better than most teams. They put quite a few balls in play and forced our defense to work behind him to hold their score to zero,” Vogelgesang said.

Cairo pitcher Logan Hughes took the loss after allowing just one earned run on five hits with a walk and eight strikeouts.

Higbee benefitted from a multi-hit game by right fielder Micah Kirby. The senior went 2-for-2 at the plate and hit one of the team’s two doubles, a hard ground ball to left field to lead off the third. 

Rockett’s sixth-inning double was the senior’s only hit of the day in a 1-for-3 performance. Spilman finished 1-for-3 with a run scored. Crawford was 1-for-2 with a leadoff single in the sixth.

“Overall, I thought this was a great team win,” said Vogelgesang. “I think a lot of people would see the 1-0 score line and think that the game was the ‘Derek Rockett Show,’ but I don’t think that was the case in this one. Derek pitched well, but we had solid contributions throughout the lineup.”

The Tigers were set to face another district opponent after the Advertiser went to press on Tuesday with a 5 p.m. game at Glasgow. They travel to winless Novinger (0-10) on Thursday. Higbee returns home on April 23 to take on another district opponent, Northwestern (Mendon) with Brunswick. The first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.


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