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Rockets Clinch Section Title for the First Time in 29 Years

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Eli Rafail – Editor

More stories from Eli Rafail

May 9th marked Senior Day for the Jefferson-Morgan baseball team, and it was a day to remember for sure. With two outs and runners on first and second in the top of the seventh inning, the Rockets lead Greensburg Central Catholic by a score of 11-10. Pitcher Isaac Dean was on the mound and due to some fielding errors, the JM baseball team was in a tough spot. In what would be the final pitch of the game, a GCC batter lifted a ball to left center and Gage Clark tracked it down, sealing the victory and at least a share of the section title for the Rockets for the first time in 29 years.

“I was so relieved when Gage pulled that one down,” explained Isaac Dean. “We had a good start to the inning, then things started to fall apart. But finally, we got the out we needed. It’s just an awesome feeling. All of us had been working so hard for all these weeks, months, and even years and it finally paid off.”

The Rockets started off the game a little bit rough too. Down 5-1 at the beginning of the bottom of the third inning, Coach Curtis and the squad knew exactly what to do. Being interviewed by the Observer Reporter, Curtis had this to say. “We had a little conference after we came off of the field in that third inning and just told our guys, ‘This is our field, our house, and we have to defend it. We know we can hit the ball and had five more shots at it. From there, our captains took over and told our guys it was time to buckle down.” And the Rockets did just that, making it a 7-5 ball game with the help of RBIs from Jake Broadwater, Joe Headlee, and Eli Rafail.

The game was far from over though. Starting pitcher Jake Broadwater hit the pitch limit after the fourth inning, bringing in senior reliever Isaac Dean to finish the job. The Rockets’ lead increased over the course of the game to 11-7 after Rafail tripled in Clark and Dean hit a sacrifice fly to score Rafail. After allowing three runs due to errors in the seventh, Dean threw one pitch and the rest was history.

“Catching that baseball was the best feeling of my entire life,” left fielder Gage Clark said about his game sealing catch. “This is something that us seniors have been dreaming about ever since we played little league baseball. To get the job done alongside my brothers was just an amazing feeling.”

Speaking of the seniors, that’s who the team really rallied behind as they attempted to score more and more runs. After picking up his 350th career win and getting a Gatorade bath, Coach Curtis had this to say to the Herald Standard. “These kids worked all winter. Our seniors, that core of guys, were in the batting cage, on artificial mounds, conditioning and weightlifting because they knew something could really happen this year. Our younger guys joined right in. I don’t know if my heart has stopped yet. When the third and final out was made, we ended up having one more run. That’s all that matters.”

Following Tuesday’s win, the Rockets traveled to Greensburg to down the Centurians once again. On the shoulders of Gage Clark’s pitching performance and Ike Dean’s three run home run in the first, the Rockets were victorious by a score of 10-8. The baseball team finished with a section best 11-1 record to win the section outright. The boys said they were playing in honor of Ms. Furnier, each of them sporting a “DF’ on the bill of their hat. With that, the Rockets and their angel in the outfield are headed towards the playoffs.

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Rockets Clinch Section Title for the First Time in 29 Years