Broadway’s Daniel Rohrer forces out a sliding Brendan Mendoza of Harrisonburg at second base. (Photos by Michael Reilly / DN-R)
Broadway pitcher Bradley Ritchie delivers against Harrisonburg on Friday at BHS.
BROADWAY – A Valley District quarterfinal baseball game that started with a bizarre error and went to extra innings ultimately came down to Daniel Rohrer. And the Broadway High School shortstop simply did not want his senior season to end.
Rohrer launched a walk-off double on Harrisonburg starter Matt Shifflett’s 113th pitch to score first baseman Kenley Lohr from first, as the third-seeded Gobblers escaped with a 4-3 win in eight innings Friday night against the sixth-seeded Blue Streaks.
“It felt good. Somebody needed to get it done,” said Rohrer, who went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run. “I stepped up the best I could.”
The Gobblers (12-9) will face second-seeded Turner Ashby on Tuesday in Bridgewater. The Streaks finished 5-13.
Senior left-handed ace Jake Cline pitched two scoreless innings of relief to earn the win. He struck out four of eight batters faced, allowing two hits with no walks. BHS junior right-handed starter Bradley Ritchie gave up one earned run on eight hits with four strikeouts.
BHS dug itself into a 2-0 hole after the Gobblers believed they recorded the third out of the second inning. Ritchie struck out Ben Hill swinging, but catcher Dalton Morris dropped the ball. Hill initially did not run, and BHS coach Charlie Shepard said he thought the Harrisonburg third baseman had given himself up.
Suddenly, Chris Whitelow broke from third base to home and Hill took off late for first, prompting a hectic throw that sailed over Lohr. Whitelow and Kyle Templeton both scored on the two-base error.
“The umpire never signaled he was out,” HHS coach Mark Mace said. “… Both groups kind of had a lapse there, but you’ve gotta play hard until the play is over.”
Said Shifflett: “What I’ve been told always through umpiring clinics is until the runner crosses the plane of the dugout, he’s in play. So, I guess he didn’t catch the third strike, never threw it, never tagged him, so we just kept going.”
Harrisonburg’s 2-0 lead stood until the bottom of the fourth.
That’s when junior left fielder Forrest Miller singled down the third-base line to start a BHS rally. Rohrer, who reached on an RBI single, and Joe Crouse crossed the plate before Shifflett got out of the inning. That put the Gobblers ahead 3-2.
Harrisonburg promptly tied the game in the fifth with back-to-back two-out hits. Ryan Kiser’s double to deep center scored Shifflett, who finished 3-for-4 to lead the Streaks. Whitelow and Jackson each added two hits for HHS.
“We knew it was do or die tonight, so we came out with intensity,” Shifflett said. “We knew we had to bring it the whole game. They’re a good team. We gave them a fight.”
Bailey and Miller each had two hits for the Gobblers, who played seven innings of error-free baseball and won a close game to break free of two opposite trends.
“Earlier in the year, I didn’t think we had that fight in us,” said BHS coach Charlie Shepard, who was “disappointed” rather than “nervous” after the second-inning error. “This is now becoming my style, my type of team. We fight.”