Ludden baseball gets wild win over Westhill

Here stood the Bishop Ludden baseball team, undefeated, watching as a massive lead melted away against defending state Class B champion Westhill in the bottom of the seventh inning of Friday night's game at Alliance Bank Stadium.

One out from victory, the Gaelic Knights couldn't close things out. A nine-run margin was down to two, partially because Corey Hewitt had hit a double down the left-field line, scoring two runs.

Only Hewitt wasn't supposed to be at the plate. He had pitched and left the game in the top of the fourth, and could not legally come back.

Once umpires Ron Cook and Mark Grosso were made aware of that rule, they ruled that the game ended, and Ludden had survived with an 11-9 victory - but it took a long time to make it official.

At first, Westhill head coach Bob Weismore made a formal protest, saying that Cook and Grosso had not taken note of the illegal substitution until another batter, Len Graf, had taken his turn, and then two pitches were thrown to Dan Lowery.

Officials upheld the protest, meaning that, at some point later in the season, the game would resume with Ludden still needing that final out.

But after some further thought, Weismore decided to accept the defeat, saying on Saturday that it would not have been proper to win a game based on a protest - especially when Westhill had made the substitution mistake in the first place.

The drawn-out ending punctuated a memorable game that was dramatic right from the start - then went crazy in the last inning long before any protests.

Westhill got to Gaelic Knights ace Matt Pirro in the bottom of the first, loading the bases with two walks and an error before Mark Syron struck a triple down the right-field line, clearing the bases and putting the Warriors up 3-0. It was the first runs Pirro had allowed all season after 22 shutout innings.

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