Chase Patton provided the drama, but an extra-inning error left Rock Bridge with a broken heart.
Helias scored two runs in the 10th inning to beat the Bruins 11-9 on Monday at Rock Bridge Stadium in a game that lasted more than three hours.
With runners on second and third base and one out, Rock Bridge pitcher Scott Reller threw a pitch out, catching both runners off guard. Catcher Scott Dunwoody overthrow third baseman Marcus Himmelberg, though, and both runs scored.
The error came after Patton sent the game to extra-innings with a grand slam in the seventh inning.
Dunwoody walked with the bases loaded before Patton’s home run.
Rock Bridge trailed 9-4 going into the seventh and the home run came against reliever Drew Biddle on a 0-1 pitch with one out.
“I felt like after that we had the momentum to keep things going, but we didn’t get the one hit when we needed it,” Patton said. “We got guys in scoring position but weren’t able to get them in.”
The Bruins had runners on first and third with two outs in the eighth.
In the ninth, Patton and Taylor Drennan hit back-to-back singles with one out.
Himmelberg reached on an error to start the 10th, but pinch runner David Wagganer was caught stealing.
“Ulcer city,” Helias coach Chris Wyrick said. “A gutsy performance by both teams. It was a heck of the game.”
In the driver's seat
The Crusaders (11-2, 5-0 North Central Missouri Conference) have two conference games left and are poised to win the title. The Bruins, who played in their fifth extra-inning game of the season, fall to 11-4 and 5-1 in the conference.
It was Rock Bridge’s second straight loss. The Bruins lost to Jefferson City 10-9 on Wednesday, blowing a 9-5 lead in the seventh inning with two errors.
“We just not making the right plays right now,” Rock Bridge shortstop Johnny Kruse said. “We’re killing ourselves. It’s rough, but we’ve got to work out of it. I mean we’re still putting up double-digit numbers almost every game. If we can just keep them down we’re going to win every game.”
Rock Bridge committed six errors against the Crusaders and Reller suffered the loss, pitching three innings of relief.
“If we make some routine plays it’s probably a different game,” Whitney said, “but that’s something we’re going to have to work on.”
Kruse hit his fifth home run of the season on the first pitch leading off the first inning and the Bruins led 2-1 going into the second.
Helias scored four in the second inning and three in the fourth.
In the fourth inning, Himmelberg relieved starter Andy Burks who allowed eight runs and seven hits, striking out one and walking three.
Patton made his first pitching appearance of the season in the seventh. He threw 17 pitches yielding three ground balls to shortstop.
“I was excited because I got to pitch,” Patton said. “I just couldn’t go any longer without pitching a little bit. I mean I’m not going to end up starting, or anything like that, or do anything more than 30 pitches in like an inning or two at the end of the game.”
Andrew Gilstrap went 4-for-6 with two doubles and a triple for the Crusaders.