MONTEZUMA - Heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, the Montezuma Braves were staring at a 6-0 deficit, facing off against a pitcher who they had only gotten one hit off of in six innings. A few fans were starting to trickle towards their vehicles.
And then, with one swing, the Braves were back in the game. Kyle Armstrong ripped a line drive three-run home run just inside the left field foul pole, cutting the lead in half. The floodgates opened then for the Braves, and the massive inning had a second major swing by Tavien Hall, who crushed a three-run double to right-center field to give the Braves a 7-6 lead.
Now, with a one run lead heading to the ninth, the Braves suddenly needed a closer to finish the game off. Coach Rush turned to Jacob King, who had to face the top of the Broadway lineup. After a leadoff single by Bryce Strawderman, King was able to settle in and retire three of the next four batters to shut the door and secure the victory for Montezuma.
“It’s huge,” Armstrong said of the come-from-behind victory. “It’s a big momentum swing for the team. Once you get those runs on the board you start to believe.”
The Braves have had several injuries that have dried up their roster over the past couple of weeks. Armstrong himself just returned from his honeymoon, just in time to play a couple key roles for his team: in the ninth, Armstrong was the catcher for King.
“He’s a guy I’ve actually coached at Riverheads,” Armstrong said of King. “So I know how he likes to pitch, that made it easy for me.”
For the Broadway Bruins, it was a devastating loss. Pitcher Bryce Turner was forced into the game in the second inning due to an injury, but he made the most of his appearance, having six shutout innings before the wheels came off in the eighth. Tanner Skidmore had a two run home run of his own in the top of the eighth, and Kevin Rush had an impressive string of at bats in the middle of the game.
All that, however, went out the window as the Braves roared back and took the game for themselves. The win moves the Braves up to 10-16, still just one game out of the dreaded 8th place in the RCBL standings. The Bruins, meanwhile, fall to 13-14, still good for 4th place.
The Bruins final regular season game is on Saturday, where they host the Stuarts Draft Diamondbacks (13-12). The Braves have a couple games left, the first of which is on Friday, when they are back home against the Bridgewater Reds (11-14).