May 19, 2022

Jones late-game heroics lift Finney

Dodge City, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-For six innings Tuesday night, Finney County’s 19-year-old squad couldn’t buy a break. But the Blues hedged their bet late, all the way to a 6-5, come-from-behind win over Dodge City in the semifinals of the American Legion Zone Tournament at Demon Field. 

“I think these guys were upset with themselves because we weren’t scoring,” Finney Coach Lyle Befort said. “We had guys in scoring position; we just couldn’t get that hit.”

The Blues stranded eight runners; were just 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and hit into three, rally-killing double plays. Yet all that didn’t matter down the stretch. 

Trailing 5-1 in the 7th, the blues offense finally came out of hibernation. Isaiah Rodriguez led off with a line-drive single up the middle. After Addison Deherra was hit by a pitch, Rodriguez swiped third on a passed ball; Deherra took second. A walk to pinch-hitter Mario Montoya loaded the bases. Following Davin Acker’s strikeout, Logan Dechant reached when second-baseman Collin Giford dropped what would have been a tailor-made double play-allowing Rodriguez to score from third. 

“We’ve talked about that never-give-up mentality,” Befort said. “We knew things would eventually go our way.”

The rally would continue when Jake Curran legged out a run-scoring, infield single to cut the deficit to two. Macrus Zapata’s RBI ground out made it 5-4-setting the stage for Ian Jones. 

Jones, who was hitless in two previous plate appearances, shook off his early struggles to deliver a two-out, two-run double off Rangers reliever Andrew Balderaz to give the Blues their first lead of the night 6-5. 

“I was just relaxed,” Jones said afterwards. “I knew we needed a big hit, and I’m usually pretty good in that situation. The count was 2-0 so I knew he would try and come after me.”

However, the comeback would not have been possible without Edgar Montoya. The Blues powerful righty stifled the Ranger bats in three innings of solid relief. In fact, the Garden City Community College signee allowed just one hit. 

“I was thinking should I waste Edgar in this spot,” Befort said. “But he’s been great all summer, and he was great again tonight.”

Finney County (25-8) starter Isaiah Rodriguez didn’t have his best stuff. In fact he was missing the strike zone all night. But after allowing three runs in the opening frame, Rodriguez held the Rangers to just two over his final six innings of work. 

“I got on him after that 1st inning,” Befort said. “But after that, he held them down for the most part.”

The Rangers squandered two chances to tie the game, with the equalizer standing just 90 feet away. In the 7th, Montoya got Dawson Davis to pop out to short. Then in the 8th-Gideon Wells blew up a two-out rally when he grounded out harmlessly to second. 

Finney County will now play for the championship Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Demon Field. They’ll face off with the winner of Dodge City and Great Bend. Those two teams will play at 5 p.m. 

FINNEY BLUES (6) AT DODGE CITY (5)

FINNEY BLUES         AB  R  H BI  DODGE CITY           AB  R  H BI
Mario Montoya         4  1  1  0  Austin Weiser         4  1  1  0  
David Acker           4  1  0  0  Andrew Balderaz       1  2  1  1  
Logan Dechant         4  1  0  0  Jordan Doun           5  1  3  1  
Jake Curran           5  1  3  2  Gideon Wells          3  0  0  0  
Marcus Zapata         2  0  0  0  Grant Meininger       4  1  0  1  
 Marcus Zapata        2  0  0  1  Colin Gifford         4  0  1  0  
Ian Jones             3  0  1  2  Hunter Ontiberda      4  0  0  0  
Edgar Montoya         3  0  0  0  Drew Chance           2  0  0  0  
Isaiah Rodriguez      4  1  1  0  Dawson Davis          4  0  0  0  
Addison Deherra       1  1  0  0                                    
TOTALS               32  6  6  5  TOTALS               31  5  6  3

FINNEY BLUES                  100 000 500 -- 6  
DODGE CITY                    301 001 000 -- 5  

LOB--FINNEY BLUES 8, DODGE CITY 11. ERR--Jake Curran (2),
Isaiah Rodriguez (3), Edgar Montoya, Colin Gifford, Andrew
Balderaz. 2B--Mario Montoya, Jake Curran, Jordan Doun.
HBP--Addison Deherra, Grant Meininger. SACF--Andrew
Balderaz. SACB--Edgar Montoya, Drew Chance. SB--Jordan Doun,
Austin Weiser (2), Grant Meininger, Colin Gifford (2),
Andrew Balderaz (2).

 FINNEY BLUES                    IP    H    R   ER   BB   SO   HR
Edgar Montoya                  9.00    6    5    3    8    4    0
 DODGE CITY                 
Austin Weiser                  6.00    3    3    3    6    5    0
Andrew Balderaz                3.00    3    3    0    1    4    0

PB--Isaiah Rodriguez (2), Gideon Wells. SO--Mario Montoya,
Logan Dechant, Isaiah Rodriguez, Addison Deherra, Edgar
Montoya (2), David Acker (3), Dawson Davis (2), Hunter
Ontiberda, Grant Meininger. BB--Mario Montoya, Logan
Dechant, Isaiah Rodriguez, Ian Jones, Marcus Zapata (2),
David Acker, Gideon Wells (2), Austin Weiser, Hunter
Ontiberda, Colin Gifford, Andrew Balderaz (3).

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