Having not scored in its first 14 innings of the season and facing a 4-0, sixth-inning deficit, the Eisenhower Knights baseball team could have easily packed it in and taken another loss.
Instead, the Knights rallied around one another, tied the game with four runs in the bottom of the sixth and defeated previously unbeaten Titusville, 5-4, on Shane Arford's RBI sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth inning.
"What a great feeling," said Ike coach Jon Vincent. "I'm just super proud of these kids. Right before we rallied back, I called the guys in and told them we could never win a game with just one hit. They responded and got themselves back in the ball game.
Times Observer photo by Allen Seybert
Drive home safely
Eisenhower’s Kyle Hunt, left and Jeb Fedorchuk, right, congratulate teammate Shane Arford after Arford’s game-winning RBI sacrifice fly in the eighth inning of the Knights’ 5-4 win over Titusville Thursday at Werner Park in Russell.
"Kyle (Hunt) pitched just a tremendous game for us and Casey (Vincent) came in in the seventh and did his job. Shane (Arford) had a great at-bat to end the game as well. We needed a deep fly ball to the outfield and he gave us exactly that. I'm so proud of these guys."
For much of the game, it didn't appear that Vincent would end the game in such a jovial mood. Despite Hunt allowing just one hit through the first five innings, Titusville had plated four runs to build a 4-0 lead.
Making matters worse was the lack of production from the Knights' offense. Hunt's first inning single was the team's only hit during the first five frames.
Finally, the Knights' offense came to life during the bottom of the sixth inning. Aaron Lundmark was hit by a pitch to start the inning before Casey Vincent, Hunt and Logan Bellardo ripped off three straight singles. Lundmark advanced to third on Hunt's single and scored when the ball was misplayed by the Rockets centerfielder.
After Bellardo's hit, he quickly tried to steal second with Vincent standing on third. Titusville tried to throw out Bellardo at second, allowing Vincent to score from third and cut the deficit to 4-2.
Later in the inning, Michael Spencer drove home Bellardo with an RBI single and courtesy runner Bryce Garris scored the tying run on a Titusville overthrow during the play.
Now tied 4-4, the Knights turned the ball over to the freshman pitcher Vincent. Vincent responded by throwing two hitless innings, keeping the game tied entering the bottom of the eighth.
Bellardo led off the inning with a grounder to third base. However, the Titusville throw sailed over the first baseman's head and Bellardo was standing on second with nobody out. With Arford at the dish, Bellardo took third on a wild pitch and scored the winning run when Arford drove a 1-2 pitch deep to left field.
Arford's heroics sent his teammates and coaches onto the field to celebrate the walkoff victory.
The Knights (1-2) continue a busy week on Friday when they host Iroquois.
TITUSVILLE (4): Foltz, lf, 3-1-0-1, Rapp, ss-p, 4-0-0-0, A. Bleday, 1b, 3-0-0-0, J. Bleday, rf, 4-0-0-0, Corklin, c, 3-1-1-0, Schwab, cf, 4-0-1-0, Mehlenbacher, 2b, 3-1-1-0, Horn, p-ss, 2-0-0-0, Hofmeister, 3b, 2-1-0-1, Totals: 28-4-3-2
EISENHOWER (5): Williams, 1b, 4-0-0-0, Lundmark, c, 3-1-0-0, Vincent, ss-p, 4-1-1-0, Hunt, p-ss, 4-0-2-0, Bellardo, cf, 4-2-1-0, Arford, lf, 3-0-0-1, Spencer, 3b, 3-0-1-1, Head, rf, 2-0-0-0, Fedorchuk, 2b, 3-0-0-0, Garris, cr, 0-1-0-0, Totals: 30-5-5-2
Titusville 000 130 00 - 4 3
Eisenhower 000 004 01 - 5 5
2b-Corklin (T). WP-Vincent. LP-Horn.
Warren 5, Corry 0
After alternating wins and losses for the first six games of the 2013 season, Warren was more than happy to buck the trend Thursday, defeating Corry 5-0 at Old Legion Field and winning back-to-back games for the first time this season.
The Dragons are now 4-3 overall on the campaign, but more importantly are a perfect 3-0 in Region 7 action.
Warren pitcher Tanner Stanz was in control from the opening pitch Thursday, throwing all seven innings and completing a six-hit shutout. Offensively, he helped his own cause with an RBI double and he also got a pair of RBI from teammate Jason Stanton.
The Dragons jumped out to an early 2-0 lead when leadoff man Collin Fantaskey singled, stole second and scored on Stanton's RBI single. Not long after, Matt Hultquist drove home courtesy runner John White with an RBI groundout to push the lead to two.
The lead doubled in the third inning and again Fantaskey and Stanton were in the middle of the action. Fantaskey singled and again stole second before scoring on Stanton's second RBI hit of the game. Stanton then stole second and made it 4-0 on Stanz's double.
The Dragons would add one additional run in the sixth inning with the unearned run coming on a Beavers error.
Warren faces a crucial region test on Friday, traveling to Harbor Creek for a showdown with the Huskies. Both clubs are 3-0 in Region 7.
Warren's junior varsity team was a 7-2 winner. Jake Retterer doubled twice for the winners.
CORRY (0): Patten, cf, 4-0-0-0, Wood, ss, 3-0-1-0, Silvis, c, 3-0-1-0, Engle, rf, 3-0-2-0, Shopene, 1b, 2-0-1-0, A. Northrup, cr, 0-0-0-0, Silvis, 2b, 3-0-0-0, Karpenko, p, 0-0-0-0, Sonntag, 3b, 3-0-0-0, C. Northrup, lf, 0-0-0-0, Zajac, dh, 2-0-0-0, Brown, p-2b, 3-0-1-0, Totals: 26-0-6-0
WARREN (5): Fantaskey, ss, 4-2-2-0, Fasenmyer, c, 3-0-0-0, White, cr, 0-1-0-0, Stanton, 1b, 3-1-2-2, Hultquist, 3b, 3-0-0-1, Stanz, p, 2-0-1-1, DeLattre, cr, 0-0-0-0, Cerra, rf, 3-0-0-0, Teconchuk, 2b, 3-1-3-0, Ord, dh, 1-0-0-0, McIntosh, ph, 1-0-0-0, Gustafson, lf, 0-0-0-0, Schwanke, cf, 3-0-0-0, Totals: 25-5-8-4
Corry 000 000 0 - 0 6 2
Warren 202 001 x - 5 8 0
2b-Stanz (W). WP-Stanz. LP-Brown.
Junior varsity game
Corry 000 110 0 - 2 5 1
Warren 311 200 x - 7 15 2
2b-Jake Retterer (W) 2, Drayer (C). WP-White. LP-Brown.