The Rapid City Stevens baseball team is proof that if you play hard to the end, good things will happen.
Trailing 8-0 after six and a half innings, the Raiders suddenly found some life, scoring eight runs in the bottom of the seventh, and then the winning run in the bottom of the eighth to shock St. Thomas More 9-8 Tuesday at McKeague Field.
It was a big win for the young Stevens team — its first of the year (1-2) in this weather-interrupted spring baseball season.
"Normally you don't think that eight runs will come in one inning, for sure, but we're a young team, and this was a huge win for us," Steven coach Steve Thomas said. "We only have two returning varsity players, so to get this first win, it was awesome."
It was all St. Thomas More for the first six innings before suddenly everything went right for Stevens and everything went wrong for STM.
The Raiders loaded the bases with no outs on a single by Joe Bennett and walks to Davonte Jones and Tate Sedevie. Aaron Moser doubled deep to the left-center wall, scoring two runs, with Carter Thomas hitting a sacrifice fly to make it 8-3. Moser later scored on a groundout by Austin Stiles.
STM starting pitcher Strider Jacobson, who had pitched shutout ball through the sixth, struggled mightily in the seventh, walking the bases loaded again. A walk to Bennett and a hit-by-pitch on Jones from reliever Jay Neugebauer scored two more runs to make it an 8-6 game.
With Kane Cavanaugh now on the mound, the Raiders sent the game to extra innings on a bases-loaded walk and a passed ball.
Jones got the Cavs out without much damage in the top of the eighth, giving the Raiders more momentum to complete the remarkable comeback.
Carter Thomas opened the inning by ripping a triple down the right field line, and he would eventually score on a single from freshman Alec Humke.
"I saw it right away that it was my pitch. I was waiting for that the whole game," Carter Thomas said. "I hit it hard and it happened to be a hit."
Carter Thomas said their hard work paid off late in the game.
"It took us a while to get into the game, but the seventh inning, we started out pretty good and got some hits together and got eight runs," he said. "Come the eighth inning, we just all came together. Alec Hunke did really good hitting."
STM appeared to be in control, scoring two runs in the third and six more in the fifth.
"We lost a little focus in the middle innings there," Steve Thomas said. "We had a little chat in the dugout about the focus part, and they came through, and we had some really good pitching at the end.
"Our seniors were pretty darn excited to see some of these younger kids come through tonight. The winning hit was from a freshman, and a sophomore on the mound ended it. I think we can be pretty good ... once we can get outside more often. We don't get to practice outside very often."
Stevens had eight hits by eight different players, with Carter Thomas, Stiles, Jones and Sedevie also knocking in one run.
STM, 1-2, had 12 hits, led by Jake Zaug with three singles. Isaac Rangel had a pair of hits and four RBI for the Cavs, while Andrew Smith and Mason Litzx had two hits each.
Jones got the win on the mound, giving up one hit, no runs and striking out three in two innings.
The Raiders turn around tonight and face another Rapid City rival, Central, at 5 p.m.
Carter Thomas said they are suddenly feeling pretty good about themselves. A huge comeback win will do that.
"It motivates us for the rest of the season," he said.
St. Thomas More will look to bounce back Thursday at Sturgis.
RAPID CITY CENTRAL 3, DOUGLAS 2, 8 INNINGS: The Cobblers picked up their first win of the season with a thrilling extra-inning victory over the Patriots on Tuesday.
The Cobblers rallied to send the game into extra innings with a run in the bottom of the seventh before winning the game in the eighth when Chris Holm doubled and later scored on a RBI single by Cameron Kor.
In the bottom of the seventh with two outs, Central tied the game on a walk to Dennis Green and singles by Aaron Iverson and Isaak Iverson.
Douglas took a 2-0 lead with single ruins in the fourth and fifth innings. Curtis Johnson had a RBI double in the fifth for the Patriots.
Central had just five hits, while Douglas had seven hits.
Kor picked up the win in relief, tossing three scoreless innings. Trey Brandhagen pitched the first five innings and struck out seven.
Isiah Dubrey pitched 6 2/3 innings for the Patriots, striking our five. Zane Schlabach took the loss, pitching 1/3 inning.
Central, 1-1, faces Stevens tonight at 5 p.m., while Douglas, 0-2, is at Mitchell Sunday for a doubleheader.