Things looked bleak for Washington for the first part of its GAC Central baseball game against Ft. Zumwalt North Wednesday at Ronsick Field.
The Blue Jays (8-4, 1-2) trailed 8-0 after 2 1/2 innings, but fought all the way back and stunned the Panthers in nine innings for their first conference victory, 10-9.
“Coach (John) Alfermann and myself just kept telling the kids that we were not out of it. We had runners on base in every inning and just needed that big hit,” said Washington Head Coach Scott Bray. “The kids believed they could come back from 8-0, and then it started to happen.”
Ft. Zumwalt North (5-6, 1-3) scored three runs in the top of the first inning, one in the second and four in the third to grab an 8-0 lead.
Washington trimmed the deficit to 8-3 with three runs in the bottom of the third inning.
The Panthers made the score 9-3 with a run in the top of the fourth inning, which turned out to be their final run of the game.
The Blue Jays scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to make the score 9-7 and one in the fifth to pull to within 9-8.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Washington scored a run to tie it, 9-9.
Todd Hellmann, hitting first in the order, reached on an error and Luke Hasenjaeger singled, putting runners on first and third bases.
Dilan Bollmann then reached on a fielder’s choice to score Hellmann and tie the game.
The score remained 9-9 until the Blue Jays won it in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Phillip Straatmann drew a walk and Brian Trigg entered the game as a pinch runner. Hellmann then laid down a bunt, which the Panthers could not make a play on, putting runners on first and second bases.
Hasenjaeger then squared to bunt, causing the infielders to charge the plate, but faked. With third base open, Trigg took off from second base. The Panthers’ catcher tried to pump fake, but threw the ball toward the dugout, allowing Trigg to score the game-winning run.
“It was a good win for the team. We were able to capitalize on some of their mistakes,” Bray said. “Our kids can play. When we play well, we can compete with anyone as long as we stay focused.”
While the Blue Jays chipped away at the lead, their pitching kept Ft. Zumwalt North scoreless for the final five innings.
Hasenjaeger got the start on the mound for Washington. In 2.1 innings, he allowed eight runs, two earned, on nine hits with three walks and one strikeout.
“Luke didn’t have his best stuff and they hit him around a bit, but he did battle while he was in there,” Bray said. “We didn’t make some plays that should have been made, which I think made him try to do too much.”
Aaron Meyer, Andrew Sumner and Brock Hopkins worked in relief.
Hopkins tossed the final five frames for the win, allowing no runs on two hits with four walks and five strikeouts.
“Aaron, Andrew and Brock held them to only one run the rest of the way,” Bray said.
Hasenjaeger had a big day at the plate, going 4-4 with two runs scored.
Kyle Summers was 2-3 for Washington. Dilan Bollmann was 2-4 with a walk, two runs and one RBI.
Sam Katzung added two hits and one RBI.
Hellmann collected one hit, two walks and three runs.
Phillip Straatmann had one hit, one walk and one run.
Hopkins registered one walk, one RBI and one run. Pete Coulter Mike Reinhold both had one RBI. Trigg scored a run.
Justin Dierden and Cody Roderique both had three hits for the Panthers. Dre Gleason belted a home run.