Sluggers fall in 13 innings to Derby Twins

Charles Chaney
Ethan Peterson pitches in the fourth inning against the Derby Twins on Monday, June 15 at Rose Hill High School. The Sophomore from Hutch CC pitched two innings.

The Derby Twins scored two runs in the top of the 13th inning to send the Rose Hill Sluggers into the loss column for the first time in the 2020 season.

Despite the effort, the Sluggers dropped a 9-7 decision to fall to 0-1 on the season.

The Rose Hill Sluggers were finally able to their season underway, more than three weeks after their scheduled start date. The season was pushed back and multiple teams decided not to play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You know, it’s great to be out here,” Sluggers head coach Jake Jones said. “You really appreciate the game and being out here a little more.”

The Sluggers, who have spent the previous seasons known as the Wichita Sluggers, moved to Rose Hill for the 2020 season. The team has played at Tabor College and at Newman University the last two seasons. They continue to try to find a home for their Sunflower Baseball League games.

“It was almost a last second decision,” Jones said. “They met on Monday (June 8) and gave us the go ahead. The crowd was nice and we didn’t even market for the game.”

Rose Hill scored two runs into the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings after trailing for the entire game.

“They never quit,” Jones said. “That’s what you like to see. They battled tonight, just didn’t come up with the win.”

The comeback almost didn’t happen as the Sluggers fell behind in the third inning when Brennan VanBreusegen of Derby opened up the scoring in the third inning with a two-run home run. Taking a 2-2 count deep to center field, making it 2-0 Twins. Cole Romero had opened up the hitting for the first time on the previous at bat. He stole second before VanBruesegen would take it deep to center.

The Sluggers responded in the bottom of the third. Ross Cadena stole second and Hunter Gibson singled to right center field. Cadena would score but Gibson would be gunned out at second base on a nice play the Derby defense to end the ending.

Tyler Delong came back in the bottom of the fourth, taking a deep shot left field, for another two-run home run. Blake Marsh scored with Delong to put the Twins up 4-1.

With another runner on, the Twins found more momentum and rhythm. Colton Whitehouse stole second and Brett McGee doubled to score Whitehouse, giving them a 5-1 lead in the top of the fifth inning.

Rose Hill battled back in their half of the fifth as Jeremiah Caesar scored and Adam Theis would score from third on a single by Hunter Gibson to make the Derby lead down to 5-3 after five innings.

Zach Baxley doubled down the first baseline to score Kelsey Weems, cutting the deficit to 5-4 after six innings.

Matt Johnson hit a solo shot in the bottom of the seventh to pull the Sluggers within one again to get the comeback started for Rose Hill.

After the Twins scored one in the top of the ninth, the Sluggers battled back in the home half. Theis scored when Gibson doubled off the wall. Then, Gibson scored when Jenner Steele singled to tie the game with two outs, sending it into extra innings.

Cole Romero tripled to open the top of the 13th and then Rose Hill walked Matt Aiken to give the double play opportunity at first. Derby made them pay as Whitehouse doubled to score two runs on the next pitch.

Rose Hill had runners at second and third but three straight outs ended the comeback chance this time.

Jesse Peoples picks up the loss for the Sluggers. While Joe Wolf gets the win for Derby, he pitched one-and-a-third innings with four strikeouts.

Baxley went 3-of-6 with one RBI and Gibson went 3-for-4 with one RBI and a walk to lead the Sluggers.

The Sluggers are going back at it on Tuesday night against Derby once again. 33 on the mound to hopefully get the Sluggers into the win column. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Rose Hill High School.

“That’s a good part about baseball,” Jones said. “We get to come back and do it again tomorrow.”

Derby — 002 210 101 000 2 — 9;13;2

Rose Hill — 001 021 012 000 0 — 7;14;1

WP — Wolf (1-0) LP — Peoples (0-1)

Matt Johnson celebrates with his teammates after hitting a solo home run in the seventh inning against the Derby Twins on Monday, June 15 at Rose Hill High School.