Rodney Tafoya or the “Ageless Arm” as some call him could not hold off the hot bats of the Brigade, as Junction City went on to win in dominating fashion securing a 13-6 victory Saturday night.
The game started fairly well for for the 56-year-old Tafoya who was pursuing his 500th career victory as he was able to get through the first inning with ease. But, as the game continued, the Brigade were able to solve his breaking ball and were able to get a nice read on his pitches.
The Knights struck first in the top of the second. Casey Steward of the Brigade allowed two lead-off singles and a wild pitch which led to two easy sacrifice RBIs for the Knights securing them an early 2-0 lead.
The Brigade responded quickly with a run of their own in the bottom half of the second, from a Grant Howard RBI single.
The Brigade jumped out in front of the Knights after a wild third inning. Tafoya struggled with his control, walking three batters and hitting two during this inning. The Brigade took advantage of this well with key hits from Dalton Nelson and Joe Kinneburg, giving them a 6-2 lead through three innings of play.
After giving up a run in the fourth the Brigade added three more runs on the board thanks again to some clutch hitting from Nelson and Kinneburg.
“I think some of the guys just needed some confidence back.” Coach Brandon Bachar said about his teams hitting tonight. “It was a good reminder that we are a good team and we’re going to win some ballgames.”
In the fifth the Knights kept in the game, scoring two more runs. Steward finished through the inning though, ending his night with five gutsy innings pitched, while also striking out three.
The Brigade continued the onslaught in the bottom of the fifth adding their final four runs. The inning was capped off with a Garret Redden two-run homerun.
“I saw a fastball coming inside, and I tried to hit the ball hard. That was basically my thought process.” Redden said.
The last three innings went by in a blur as Brian Bruxvoort relieved for starter Casey Steward in the sixth. After a lead-off double, and an error following that scored a run for the Knights, Bruxvoort would knock out the next 12 batters in order.
Bruxvoort ended his night with a dominant four innings pitched, walking none while only allowing one hit.
“After I saw that second batter pop out to center and we weren’t able to catch it due to the lights, I said, ‘Hey I don’t want that to happen again so let’s go out there and strike everybody out’,” Bruxvoort said.
And strike out everyone he almost did, striking out nine of the fourteen batters he faced.
This game will not go down in the Brigade’s record due to the Knights not being a Mid-Plains League opponent but the Brigade will be back in action Monday at Sabetha to take on the Bravos.