BEAVERCREEK — Call them the Battlin’ Back Beavers.
Host Beavercreek rallied from a 5-1 deficit, then needed a bases loaded walk-off walk to win 7-6 over Greater Western Ohio Conference, National East division foe Centerville on Tuesday, May 2.
Bryce Neuse drew a walk to score pinch runner Gary DeMartino with the winning run in a bizarre final inning of play.
With Elks reliever Shea Hendrixson on the mound in relief of Ohio State commit Alex Firsdon and the game all even at six runs each, Beavercreek’s Brandon Harroff started the inning simply enough with a single to center field. But when Drew Dillon applied a sacrifice bunt, in hopes of moving Harroff to second, things got weird.
The Centerville catcher threw to second, in hopes of throwing out Harroff. But instead, the throw ended up in the outfield and Harroff hustled over to third on the error. The Elks intentionally walked Joey Riedel to load the bases, with the hopes of creating force plays at every base. But Nuese then worked the count full before winning the contest on a walk.
“They’ve had a knack for doing that lately,” Beavercreek coach Brandon Long said of the comeback. “I think it goes back to last week when we were playing a crossover game with Miamisburg. We were down 4-o there, and we came back to win that game in 10 innings. We were down 1-0 (Monday night at Centerville) and we came back to win that one.
“They have a quiet confidence about them. Sometimes you wonder if they’re going to fight back, but they always do it. I’m pretty proud of them right now.”
Lead-off hitter Jake Maloney was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored. Harroff, Riedel and Treyben Funderburg each had two hits, with Funderburg scoring a run and driving in two others.
Beavers pitcher Brandon DeWitt scattered 10 hits while unofficially striking out eight to get the win.
“He’s been there all year for us and does a great job on the mound,” Long said. “He went through a tough inning (when Centerville scored three runs on three hits in the third), but we put up that big 5 spot with two outs — that’s the second night in a row where we’ve scored five runs when we had two outs — and he came back with a renewed sense of confidence. He’s an excellent baseball player. An excellent kid. He’s a terrific competitor.”
Beavercreek rallied from a 5-1 deficit by sending nine batters to the plate in the fourth inning. Five runs and six hits later, the Beavers were out in front 6-5.
Centerville tied the game in the top of the seventh on Jake Whisman’s RBI double, but Maloney’s line-drive catch in left field ended the inning with two Elks stranded on third and second.
“It hurts regardless of how well we played,” Centerville coach Jason Whited said of the loss. “I just told our guys that Beavercreek’s a little better than us right now. They earned the sweep by doing the things they needed to do, and we just didn’t. … I don’t think it matters necessarily whether you battle back or not. I liked how we did, but regardless, congratulations to Beavercreek. They were a little bit better these last couple nights.”
Whited credited Firsdon with a solid game both on the mound and at the plate.
“That’s one kid that, over the last year, he’s by far the most developed player I’ve been around,” Whited said. Firsdon led the Elks with a 3-for-4 day at the plate, with a double, RBI and a run scored.
With the win, Beavercreek clinches at least a share of the GWOC National East division title. Beavercreek has National Conference games at Lebanon (Wednesday, May 3) and a home GWOC National matchup with Springboro. Should the Battlin’ Back Beavers win either of those games, the team will clinch the East division crown outright.
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.