HURRICANE — For much of the night, it looked like Hurricane had won the game on the arm of J.T. Rogoszewski and the bat of Brandon Pauley.
However, following a late-inning rally by George Washington, the Redskins had to win it all over again — this time on the legs of Zach Pate and a timely hit from Alexander Dunham.
Dunham stroked an RBI single with one out in the bottom of the seventh, scoring Pate to give Hurricane a 4-3 victory at windy Lola Meeks Field.
“They showed some toughness,’’ said Redskins coach Brian Sutphin. “We’re finding our way.
“It’s only our fourth game and the last time we played [a 9-7 loss to South Charleston], we stunk it up and did not play well in all three phases — we struck out nine times, made three errors and walked four guys. We just didn’t play good baseball, so this is a step in the right direction.’’
GW, which trailed most of the way, grabbed a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth, finally getting to Rogoszewski, one of Hurricane’s aces who was seemingly in control — holding the Patriots to a pair of singles before that, fanning five and walking one.
Trailing 2-0, GW’s Josh Petit drew a bases-loaded walk and Jeff Wong followed with a two-run single over shortstop to give the Patriots the lead.
Then it was Hurricane’s turn to sully what had been a solid start by GW sophomore Austin Henrich, who allowed only four singles through five innings to the Class AAA No. 2 Redskins (3-1).
Pauley (3 for 3, two RBIs) kept his scintillating night going in the home half of the sixth, ripping a run-scoring double to tie it at 3. Pauley provided the Skins with their first run on an RBI single in the second.
After Hurricane reliever Trey Dawson retired GW’s top three hitters in order in the seventh, it was time for the Skins to win it a second time.
The speedy Pate drew a one-out walk and swiped second before Dawson was intentionally walked. Henrich got a quick 0-2 count on Dunham, but after a wide pitch, Dunham smacked the winning single to left and Pate just beat the rap at home.
Dunham had previously grounded out three times against Henrich.
“When I got in the hole 0-2, I took two pretty big hacks,’’ Dunham said. “So once I got down two strikes, I knew I just had to put the bat on the ball — anything that was close. I was just trying to drive the ball a little bit and get some air under it.’’
Rogoszewski, one of the stars of Hurricane’s run to the AAA basketball championship game less than two weeks ago, initially looked sharp in his longest stint of the season. But he allowed three singles in the sixth and was removed before the seventh.
“J.T. threw well,’’ Sutphin said. “We had him on a pitch count coming out of basketball. He hadn’t pitched a whole lot before that, just a couple of innings. We wanted to get him in a game.
“It was well pitched on both sides, and it’s not the greatest conditions to play in with that wind, and it’s wet when the ball gets in the outfield. Any ball up in the air, it’s an adventure.’’
The ending wasn’t what the No. 3 Patriots (5-3) had in mind, but coach Chad Campbell said recent close-game losses to Hurricane and No. 1 Cabell Midland gave his team some confidence.
“We were down the whole game and we didn’t quit,’’ Campbell said. “We came back and scored three runs against a really good pitcher, and that’s a good team. I think we were right there with them.
“That’s what we told our guys — the only ones who believe in you are you. We faced Midland and Hurricane this week and we faced [Seth] Kinker and Rogoszewski. It’s been a test for us, and I think we held our own. We’d have liked to have won, but we’re getting some things out of these games. We’re seeing where we are as a team, and we’re going to get better. Guys see we can compete and it’s going to do wonders for us.’’
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.