Walk-off Rams do it again, stun top-ranked Keyser in extras

Apr. 26—OAKLAND — If a movie was made about the past week for No. 5 Southern, it would probably win an Oscar.

The Rams (11-4) walked off three consecutive games before a 10-0 shutout loss to No. 2 Allegany on Wednesday.

About 24 hours later, and for the fourth time in five games, Southern did it again.

Jared Haskiell delivered the game-winner on a double to stun top-ranked Keyser 5-4 in nine innings on Thursday.

"I've played baseball a long time," Southern head coach Hayden McLaughlin said. "Never in my life have I been part of four walk-offs in my entirety of baseball."

Against Northern last Friday, Jack Healy walked it off with a base hit up the middle.

In the next game against No. 3 Frankfort, Ben Lohr hit a single with the bases loaded.

Against Petersburg on Tuesday, Kasey Reckart won it on a bunt.

In Thursday's game, it was Haskiell's turn to be the hero.

In the bottom of the ninth, Wyatt Rush sent a fly ball to left for a base hit.

Bryson Bennett drew a four-pitch walk, then Haskiell stepped to the plate.

On a 1-2 count, he sent a fly ball deep to left that sailed over the left fielder.

"Happy for Jared, he's been in multiple opportunities to step in and be that guy," McLaughlin said. "He was seeing the ball well today, staying in his approach. Trying to hit backside singles and had a great day at the plate."

Haskiell led Southern with three hits and three stolen bases.

In the top of the ninth, Chase Davis hit a one-out double for the Golden Tornado (13-3).

Brayden Upole made a diving play at second base to get the runner at third.

"Brayden Upole being Brayden Upole, the best shortstop in the area without a doubt," McLaughlin said. "He gets the plays nobody else does."

The next play, a pickoff to first sent the runner into a rundown in which the Rams applied the tag.

While Keyser came up just short, the Tornado were the reason the game required extra innings.

With two on in the bottom of the seventh, Patrick Liller made a diving catch in right field to rob a likely walk-off double and send the game to extras.

"We made some plays to keep us in the game," Keyser head coach Scott Rohrbaugh said. "That gave us a shot. Southern capitalized on their opportunities and when we had opportunities, we didn't."

The Tornado have struggled in the past two games capitalizing on chances with multiple runners on.

After leaving the bases loaded in two of the three final innings against Frankfort on Wednesday, Keyser failed to capitalize again on Thursday.

The Tornado had the bases loaded in the second inning and two on in the fourth, sixth and ninth innings.

Keyser scored three runs total across those four innings.

"The last two or three games, we've had trouble with situational hitting," Rohrbaugh said. "It's come back to bite us. We left runners on, but Southern came to play. They played hard and we got outplayed by a better team today."

After scoring on an error in the first, a Josh Shoemaker RBI double and sacrifice fly gave the Tornado a 2-1 lead in the second.

Davis tied the game in the sixth with an RBI single.

In the fourth inning, Keyser had two runners in scoring position, but Cade Leader stranded them with a groundout to keep it a one-run game.

"Cade was grooving to that point, then got a little adversity and kept attacking," McLaughlin said. "One pitch at a time, attacking the zone. For a freshman to step up and throw pretty much a complete game is huge."

The Rams scored on a Healy single in the first, and a sacrifice fly in the third that cut Southern's deficit to 3-2.

A throwing error at shortstop in the fifth inning on a high throw home scored a run in the fifth.

On the next pitch, Reece Tasker doubled to right to give the Rams a 4-3 lead.

Leader went seven innings out of the bullpen and earned the win.

He allowed six hits, one run and no walks with four strikeouts.

"Never phased him. He wasn't afraid of the challenge," McLaughlin said. "His ability to command his fastball, changeup and curveball pretty well, trying to keep them off balance. It allowed us to get soft contact and make some plays."

Evan Jenkins went eight innings for the Tornado, allowing six hits, three earned runs and a walk with 16 strikeouts.

Davis and Liller each had two hits for Keyser.

Southern has now beaten two of the area's top three teams this week.

"We have a good group of guys who are just friends in life," McLaughlin said. "Just that friendship they all have, it allows them to always be up for each other, having faith in this guy's gonna do it, that guy's gonna do it."

Keyser has now lost two straight for the first time this season.

The Golden Tornado head to Hampshire on Friday at 7 p.m. while the Rams host No. 4 East Hardy on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

Jordan Kendall is a Sports Writer for the Cumberland Times-News. Email him with scores and story suggestions at