KELLER — The key hit had eluded Keller Fossil Ridge early this season.
Sheldon Neuse, however, delivered a big one Friday in a 10-5 victory at Keller High School.
He picked up the pitching win as well after , his pivotal one-out double in a four-run sixth inning wiped out a 2-1 Keller lead.
“We just haven’t had that kind of hit at all in the first two games,” Fossil Ridge coach Doug Dulany said. “You know, we’re finding out that it’s not tournament games we’re playing and each time we play a district game, the competition is tough.”
Keller had already defeated Fossil Ridge (12-4-1, 1-2 in district) in a nondistrict tournament game earlier this season.
Keller dropped to 13-5 and 2-1 in district.
Neuse went 2-for-5 with two RBI. His big hit came off Keller reliever Garrison Williams, who left up a curveball on a 2-2 count.
Neuse swatted it to the opposite field, and Kenniel Rivera and Jake Wymer scored to give Fossil Ridge its first lead.
The hit also dealt a blow to the effort of Keller starter Brett Marcom. He tossed 5 1/3 innings, giving up three runs and seven hits.
But he helped keep the Panthers in check with a different mix of off-speed pitches until Neuse found his stroke.
Neuse threw 97 pitches in six innings, giving up four earned runs and six hits while striking out four.
Rivera came on in the ninth to close things out.
“That’s really about the maximum that we’ll throw Sheldon,” Dulany said. “He felt good going into the sixth, so we let him try and finish things up.”
Neuse ended up throwing 30 pitches in the sixth, when Keller plated two runs to get within 5-4.
But Neuse’s hit got Fossil Ridge’s bats going. The Panthers scored five more runs against Keller’s bullpen in the seventh.
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