Aaron Beranek singled home the go-ahead run in two outs in the ninth inning as the Richland Center Rockets outlasted Plain, 7-5, at Plain Saturday.
It was the Rockets’ fourth straight win and their second consecutive HTL Sunday League victory. They improved to 8-7 and solidified their hold on fourth place in the HTL West Division of the Northern Section standings.
The playoff bound Rockets, as usual, struggled with Plain that isn’t. Plain, which has won only one of 14 HTL games, led, 3-2, after three innings. Richland Center plated three runs in the sixth, but Plain tied the game with two in the seventh before the Rockets scored twice in the ninth.
Sam Overlien notched his second win for the Rockets. Overlien came on in relief of starter John Walsh. He worked three innings before James Oelke registered the save by working a scoreless ninth inning.
The Rockets started with a bang. Leadoff man Travis Jacobson, whose bat has been torrid lately, walloped a solo home run to start the game. It was just the first of three hits for Jacobson, whose .459 batting average ranks among the top five in the Northern Section.
The Rockets added another run in the second. Oelke walked and then scored as Plain committed two errors with two outs.
Plain tied the game in the bottom of the second. Mitch Nachreiner doubled home two runs. Plain took the lead in the third when a walk, a dropped third strike and a sacrifice fly proved costly.
The Rockets stranded the bases loaded in the fifth before breaking through again in the sixth. Oelke walked and Overlien singled before Alex Mortimer clobbered a three-run homer. It was one of three hits for Mortimer, who had been mired in a slump after getting the season off to a fast start.
Mortimer and Jacobson accounted for six of the Rockets’ eight hits.
Nick Stittleburg’s single tied the game, 5-5, in the seventh.
Both teams squandered scoring opportunities in the eighth.
Jacobson singled to start the Rockets’ ninth. Andy Chitwood sacrificed. After Jon Killoy flied out, Beranek singled home Jacobson. Beranek then stole second and eventually scored on a passed ball.
Oelke walked one and struck out one in the ninth to seal the win.
Walsh allowed four hits over five innings. He struck out two and walked two. Overlien allowed six hits in three innings. He struck out four.
The Rockets will wrap up their HTL Sunday League schedule on Sunday against Waunakee at Waunakee. The first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. Waunakee (4-11) is tied for fourth East Division of the Northern Section with Lodi and Black Earth.