Walk-off wild pitch sends HCHS past Roosevelt, 8-7
HARLAN (July 5) -- Just one out away from defeat - then one strike away from going to extra innings - the Harlan Community baseball team found a way to notch a quality non-conference win here Friday night with the help of a little good fortune.
Trailing 7-5 after five, the Cyclones scored a run in the sixth on Jon Owens’ two-out RBI double and rallied for two in the seventh on a pair of run-scoring wild pitches to sneak past Des Moines Roosevelt 8-7 at Jim Goeser Field.
Brett Sears ignited the seventh-inning rally with a leadoff walk, at which point the Roughriders brought in the hard-throwing Alex Pentergast in relief. Connor Bruck, after initially failing to get a bunt down, slapped a single through the six hole to give HCHS runners at first and second.
Pentergast responded by striking out the next two batters, but with one out, Sears and Bruck executed a double steal - Sears barely getting under the tag at third. Ball four to Isaiah Ahrenholtz also resulted in a wild pitch and Sears scored the tying run. Moments later, with Brenden Bartley facing an 0-2 count, another pitch to the backstop allowed Bruck to sprint home with the game-winning run.
“It was very fortunate,” said HCHS head coach Steve Daeges. “That was their mistakes - not our doing - but (when) you put pressure (on), you put a guy at third, it does limit the pitches you can throw. You spike a fastball or a curveball in the dirt and it’s a run, so that’s how it worked out for us tonight.”
HCHS, ranked fifth in Class 3A, finished 5-for-6 in stolen base attempts against the fourth-ranked team in 4A, including a pair of double steals. The Cyclones scored their first run in the third inning when Owens and Bruck stole home and second, respectively.
HCHS (20-4) fell behind three separate times against Roosevelt (22-5) and also led 5-2 after scoring four runs in the fourth inning. The Roughriders answered back with five runs in the top of the fifth.
Bruck finished 2-for-3 at the plate with a walk and two steals to lead the Cyclones. Joey Moser, Bartley and Owens each hit a double and Owens was never retired in the nine hole, also drawing two walks and scoring twice.
Daeges also lauded the work of Cyclone pitchers Riley Kohles and Moser for “keeping us in the ball game” and pointed to some nice defensive plays that were made on slowly-hit grounders to shortstop and third.
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