Henry Rowling’s solo home run with two outs in the top of the first inning of Game 2 against Roswell in the semifinals of the Class AAAAAA state tournament was all the offense the Raiders produced in the two games combined. With Will White and Caleb Bohan combining for the shutout in the nightcap, one run was enough to salvage a split with a 1-0 victory after falling 7-0 in the opener.
The Raiders will play the Hornets today in the deciding game at Raider Mountain with hopes of advancing to the state finals for the first time since 2008.
“It felt good just to get the job done,” White said.
White threw the first six innings to get the win. He gave up six hits and had seven strikeouts. Bohan shut down the Hornets in the seventh after giving up a leadoff hit to Mitchell Benson.
As solid as White was in the Game 2, there were times when he had to pitch his way out of trouble and get help from the seven players behind him.
“We needed a big pitching performance from Will and he gave it to us,” Walton coach Shane Amos said. “And Caleb came in and closed it. Will kept them off balance with his slider and fastball. He battled more than anything. Stephen Wrenn will be on the mound (today) and we’ll see what happens.”
Roswell had two runners in scoring position with no outs in the fourth inning. White began working his way out of trouble by inducing a groundout by Ryan Ritson after he was behind 3-1 in the count. He then struck out Benson on six pitches and came away unscathed by inducing an Adam Terrinonni grounder on the first pitch.
White found himself in a jam again in the sixth with a runner on second and one out. Zach Hald singled to center field in an attempt to bring Alex Dickerson home from second, but Wrenn’s throw to Aaron Rzcidlio was in time to tag Dickerson out at the plate.
“That was the turning point of the game,” White said. That was the biggest play of the game and it’s what got me through the inning.”
Walton had a chance to break Game 2 open in the top of the seventh inning when the Raiders loaded the bases with one out. All hopes were dashed when Rowling was tagged out at the plate trying to steal home and Bradley Schwartz struck out to end the frame.
Roswell never had to use its bullpen in either game. Austin Krezeminski pitched a five-hitter in the opener and had seven strikeouts and no walks. Connor Johnstone pitched a three hitter in the nightcap and kept Walton off the base paths for four straight innings after the Raiders left a runner on second in the second inning.
Roswell scored three of its seven runs in the first game on suicide squeeze plays. Two more runs came home on sacrifice flies. The Hornets also scored on a bases loaded walk and a Walton error.
“They do a good job with the squeeze,” Amos said. “Thank goodness they weren’t in a situation in the second game where they could do it again.”