The baseball gods giveth…and the baseball gods taketh away.
Four late Patrick Henry hits, three of which added up to maybe a ground ball to deep short, had giveth the Patriots a tie in the last inning against the Evergreen Vikings.
Then, just that quick, the Vikes’ Ashton Sayers tooketh away as the junior designated hitter lined a one-out single to right to score a diving Brock Hudik to give Evergreen a 3-2 walk-off victory over Patrick Henry Thursday.
Evergreen is now 2-0 in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League.
“He’s done pretty well this year hasn’t he?,” said Viking coach Mark Cymbolin of Sayers. “He had a couple rough at bats early in the year, but he had what three hits today? That’s why he’s in there. The situation didn’t get to him, he stayed calm and relaxed, he had a good approach and did what needed to be done.”
The Vikings grabbed a one-run lead in the first.
Zach Laver beat out a one-out infield hit but was hit by Sayers’ bouncer that was headed toward right field for a second out.
After Patriot starter Braden Hall gave up a walk, RJ Shunck ripped a run-scoring single to left to put the Vikings on top.
For a while, it looked as if Viking right-hander Landen Vance would make that run stand up as he blew through the first four innings allowing a walk and striking out six Patriot hitters.
That’s when on a cold, raw day the gods of the diamond turned the Patriots way.
Clayton Feehan’s little nubbed pop flopped to earth where no one could make a play for the first PH hit leading off the fifth.
Feehan stole second and went to third on the wild throw to second.
Vance struck out Hall but Layke Crossland beat out a swinging bunt that went about 30 feet down the third base line that brought in the tying run before Vance got a strike out and soft liner to third to end the inning.
Evergreen went back ahead in the sixth.
Shunck reached on an error, moved up on a sacrifice, then rode home on Alex Peete’s sharp single to right.
That lead was short-lived as again PH scored on very small ball in the seventh.
Feehan again beat out a roller toward short, stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice.
After a walk, Crossland came up with the only solid hit of the day for PH on a single to center to score Feehan and put runners on first and third.
The gods of the baselines then went back in favor of the Vikings when on a pop out, both runners were going on contact and catcher Mason Luttrell flipped to third for an easy double play.
Hudik began the game-winning rally reaching on an error and stealing second.
Sayers then rifled a fastball into right and even though the throw beat Hudik home, the junior leadoff hitter eluded the tag to score the game winner.
Vance walked three, struck out nine, allowed four hits and just one earned run in what may have been the Vikings best pitching performance of the season.
“He was spectacular today,” Cymbolin expressed. “We constantly talk about throwing strikes and he was around the plate all day today. He had all of his pitches working, throwing them for strikes. He gave us exactly what we had to have.
“When it’s windy and cold like this, and as good as things seem to be but they really aren’t going your way where they have three hits that don’t even get out of the infield and they tie the game, I mean I’m really proud of the way our young guys kept their composure and battled their way through. We have what happened in the seventh after we go ahead and they tie it, it was good to see the way we reacted to that and come back and get one.”
Vikes triumph over Cadets
Despite leaving 11 men on base and putting seven Cadets on the sacks via the base on balls and hit batters, Evergreen marked a 6-5 win over Hilltop the next day.
Brock Hudik got the win on the mound with last inning help from Shunck who threw just 12 pitches while striking out the side in the seventh.
Nick Smithmyer capped a three-run rally in the sixth with an RBI single that brought in the go-ahead run.
The white-hot Laver had three more hits, while Shunck, Smithmyer and Peete had two each.
Sayers added a two-run double for Evergreen who hosts Toledo Start Tuesday.