It was another exciting ballgame for the Westlake nine, but this time they came up just short when Hudson was able to push across the winning run in the bottom of the seventh to give the home team a 6-5 victory on a brisk night in the western reserve.
The Explorers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. The first four in the Hudson order all singled and the next hitter was hit by pitch. Kortes was able to limit the damage to three runs by inducing a 4-6-3 double play groundball and punching out the next hitter. Showing great poise, the sophomore hurler then shut down the opposition for the next two frames, allowing no runs and one additional hit.
The Demon bats were quiet through the first three innings, but they exploded for three tallies of their own in the fourth to deadlock the contest at three apiece. Keir started the rally with an infield single and advanced to second on an error by the Explorer first sacker. Stenger was HBP and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. A ground out kept both runners in place before a sacrifice fly by Tucholski scored Keir. After Randar was also HBP, Cipollone ripped a deep fly over the right fielder’s head to plate two runs. That “bug loose on the rug” as Pirate broadcaster Bob Prince coined two base hits tied the game up headed to the bottom of the fourth. (Yeah, Cip we know about your PA DNA)
In their half of the inning Hudson answered right back with two runs of their own to retake the lead 5-3. A triple that lost itself in the lights, a walk, a sac fly and a passed ball did the damage.
The Demons responded with a run in the fifth. Burrows walked with one down and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Burrows scored on a single to right by Reghi. Demons now down 5-4.
In the bottom of the fifth, Kortes retired the first two hitters he faced but walked the next two ending a very respectable evening for the varsity rookie right hander. Righty Ambrosino was now on to face the six hole Explorer hitter. After a double steal to advance two Explorers into scoring position, Ambrosino got the hitter on a called third strike to extinguish the threat.
Both clubs threatened with a runner reaching scoring position in the sixth frame but came up empty.
The game went to the top of the seventh with the Horns needing a run to tie. Keir dropped a fly ball in front of the center fielder and Jack Finucane came on to run for Keir and got himself into scoring position by swiping a bag. Reghi came up with another big RBI single to tie the game. It was Cal’s third hit of the night. After advancing to second on the throw to the plate, Reghi was stranded there and the game advanced to the bottom of the seventh.
The Explorers leadoff hitter in the inning drew a walk and stole second. The next two hitters were intentionally passed to load the bases and create a force at the plate. The plan worked except the next hitter hit a squibber off the end of the bat and the Demon defender was unable to cleanly field the ball with so much english and the runner from third was able to score. And so this time the Demons were on the heartbreaking side of a walk-off, but it was a great game against a high quality opponent. Nothing to hang our heads about as it was a superior effort by our men.
The Demons return to The Yard for a 3pm Senior Day doubleheader against Orange. Senior ceremonies begin at 2:20. See ya at The Yard!