May 16, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Through two tense games and 13 innings, Bishop Grimes baseball pitcher Chris Schad had done a remarkable job keeping the pesky Pulaski Blue Devils off the board, pushing his undefeated, state Class C no. 2-ranked Cobras side to brink of a regular-season sweep.
But it was that 14th inning, and what took place in it, that would keep Grimes from total regular-season satisfaction, Pulaski rallying with a combination of timely hits and daring strategy to pull out last Wednesday’s rematch with the Cobras by a score of 2-1.
There was nothing unusual about Schad returning to the mound again, since four days had passed since he had efficiently beaten Pulaski 1-0 in a classic pitchers’ duel with Blue Devils ace Cody Mosher.
So on normal rest, Schad would face down the Blue Devils again – but Grimes didn’t have to worry about Mosher, as Tom Taplin got the pitching nod instead.
Neither side budged until the top of the third. Joe Arrigo doubled, and when Schad delivered a single, Arrigo raced home, giving Grimes a 1-0 lead. Taplin allowed nothing more, though, and with a complete-game, five-hit effort that involved eight strikeouts, he gave Pulaski a chance to win.
The Blue Devils had come back the day before, scoring twice in the seventh inning and three times in the eighth to rally past Hannibal 5-2, so a one-run deficit wasn’t going to faze them, even as Schad moved closer and closer to a second straight complete-game shutout.
Entering the bottom of the seventh, Schad had allowed just two hits and picked up nine strikeouts, but in that inning, he started to tire, only recording one but seeing Pulaski notch three singles (one of them by Taplin) and load the bases, just as it had done in the fourth inning of their first meeting.
This time, though, the Blue Devils’ Erik Oakes would try something bold. He bunted, a suicide squeeze, but missed and, more importantly, the runner on third never moved, preventing a certain out.
Everyone outside the Pulaski dugout expected a different signal, but again the squeeze was called for, and this time Oakes’ bunt was perfect and the tying run scored. Moments later, Dylan Hess singled home the winning run.
The excitement carried over into Thursday’s game against Tully, which featured and all sorts of momentum shifts before the Cobras finally held on to beat the Black Knights 9-6.
By the third inning, Grimes had a 5-1 lead and Wyatt Myers, helped by the wind, had already blasted two home runs, with Schad also getting a home run. But Tully fought back, knocking out Cobras pitcher Chris Hendrick by the fifth inning and tying it, 5-5, with two runs off Schad.
Getting his revenge, Hendrick doubled and drove in two runs as part of a four-run sixth. The Cobras preserved that 9-5 lead into the seventh, where the Black Knights got a run and loaded the bases before Jack Rotondo, pitching in relief, got a double play and groundout to help Grimes hang on for the win.
Two days before the Pulaski rematch, Grimes went to Onondaga, and steady production at the plate made things less stressful as the Cobras routed the Tigers 14-3.
Even with those three runs, Grimes managed a no-hitter, a combined effort by Tom Steinberg, who pitched 5 2/3 innings, and Wyatt Myers, who went the last 1 1/3 innings. Combined, the pair managed to strike out 16 OCS batters.
Grimes scored runs in each of the first five innings, peaking with a four-run second, on its way to 16 hits overall, with Jim Perra and Chris Hendrick setting the pace, getting three hits apiece.
Behind them, Myers and Trevor Pokines both got two hits and three RBIs, while Arrigo and Jack Rotondo drove in two runs apiece. Chris Mancuso added an RBI. Steinberg walked twice and drove in a run.