ERHS Edges Page
Dofflemyer Key In 10-7 Victory
HARRISONBURG – With the game tied at 7-7 in the seventh inning against a neighboring rival, it was simply John Dofflemyer’s time to make a play for East Rockingham High School.
For good measure, the senior left fielder made two.
Dofflemyer delivered a go-ahead single in the seventh and made an impressive catch at the warning track before bouncing off the left field wall in the bottom half of the inning as the Eagles edged Page County 10-7 in a baseball game Thursday at Veterans Memorial Park.
Dofflemyer’s late heroics came as no surprise to ERHS coach David Scott.
“I think I told Johnny this two years ago. I said, ‘I don’t care how things are going for you. You’ll always be in our lineup, because you’re as clutch as anybody we’ve ever had or will have,’” Scott said. “That is Johnny Dofflemyer. He’s a gritty, gritty kid. He was tiny growing up. He’s had to be more gritty than anybody else around, and it’s paying off for him now.
“That catch he made in left field – I mean, it’s very, very few high school kids that have the guts to go onto the warning track running full speed, catch a ball and touch the fence.”
Shannon Cross (2-0) pitched out of a two-on, no-out situation during the sixth in relief of starter Chase Comer to earn his second win against the Panthers this season. Noah Brown earned a three-out save for the Eagles, who improved to 12-1 with their sixth straight win.
“Both of those situations defensively we handled very well,” Scott said.
Page County hosted the game at James Madison University’s ballpark due to wet field conditions in Shenandoah. The Panthers (5-7) were swept by ERHS after losing 3-0 earlier this season.
East Rock jumped ahead with a six-run third inning as Page left-hander Dylan Talghadar gave up seven of his 13 hits allowed. Junior catcher Riley Hensley’s two-run double with the bases loaded was the first of four consecutive hits for the Eagles, including senior center fielder Bret Reel’s triple.
Reel finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs on a night in which six East Rock starters had two hits. Reel also helped instill confidence in Dofflemyer, directing the defense throughout the game.
“[There was] pretty good room out there, but I tracked it down,” said Dofflemyer, whose uncle, Skip, used to coach PCHS as an assistant. “I had Bret out there telling me where I was at. … He didn’t say nothing, so I knew I was good.”
Sophomore left fielder Tylor Williams led Page in the ninth spot, going 3-for-4 with a leadoff double in the third and a two-run single in the fifth that cut the Panthers’ deficit to 7-6. Junior center fielder Colin Huffman followed with a run-scoring groundout to tie the game.
In the bottom of the sixth, Cross got the first batter he faced to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. Then, after walking Allen Basnight, the East Rock junior with a sub-1.00 ERA induced another groundball for an inning-ending fielder’s choice.
Brown allowed a one-out single in the seventh with one strikeout – only the third of the game – before locking up his first save.
Scott said both Brown and Cross would be available in tonight’s home rematch with Riverheads, which handed East Rock a 3-2 defeat in Greenville on April 8. The Eagles are now 6-1 in games decided by three runs or fewer.
East Rockingham 006 010 3 – 10 13 4
Page County 002 140 0 – 7 10 3
Comer, Cross (6), Brown (7) and Hensley; Talghadar and Campbell. W—Cross (2-0). L—Talghadar (2-5). S—Brown (1). HR—none.