FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A three-run homer by Jeff Bradshaw highlighted a four-run ninth-inning Thursday night and the Rogers County Rangers rallied past the Lindsey and Associates American Legion baseball team of Fayetteville, 10-9.

Trailing, 9-6, in the top of the ninth, the Rangers’ Blake Kelley singled to start the comeback, and Curt Simpson followed with a double off Ryan Salsbury. Kelly stopped at third.

Bradshaw then took a Salsbury fastball and clobbered it over the left field wall.

As a hush fell over Bulldog Field, the Rangers’ Josh Beal kept the momentum going, doubling to right. Steffon Williams then singled to left, chasing home Beal with what proved to be the winning run.

It was the third game in row that the Rangers have won in the ninth inning.

The Rangers headed home to open their Independence Weekend Tournament Friday night at Claremore’s Legion Field.

It could have been a long ride home.

The Rangers watched a 6-0 lead evaporate when the Dodgers scored two in the fourth, five in the sixth and two more in the seventh.

On top of that, the Rangers suffered a big loss when starting pitcher Matt Sparks was hit by a line drive off the bat of Zach Hedges in the fourth and had to leave the game.

Up until that point, Sparks had held the Dodgers in check, limiting them to only two hits.

Sparks was being examined by a doctor on Friday morning. He was struck in the mouth.

Sparks had been having a great week, according to Rangers’ coach Todd Bingham.

Sparks drove in the winning run in the 10th inning on Tuesday’s victory over Salina. He also has been filling in at second base for Vincent Pironti, who has been sidelined.

“Matt has become a great utility player,” Bingham said. “And all we wanted him to do was pitch.”

Sparks had a two-run cushion to work with after Zane Williams had homered in the first inning and J.C. Chaisson plated another with a sacrifice fly in the second.

In the fourth, the Rangers erupted for four runs. Aaron Conger had an RBI double, and singles by Kelly and Bradshaw drove in three more.

After the Dodgers rallied to move to the front, it was Bradshaw’s time to deliver again in the ninth.

The Rangers improved to 11-5, while the Dodgers stand at 23-6.

The Rangers open their three-day tournament at 8 p.m. Friday against Yukon, the second game of the night.


Claremore 110 400 004 — 10 12 1

Lindsey 000 205 200 — 9 12 0

Sparks, Stafford (4), York (7) and Z.Williams. Higgs, Cosby (4), Salsbury and Smith.

W — York L — Salsbury