William Woods Baseball Advances to AMC Championship
FULTON, MO - The William Woods baseball team trailed all afternoon against Missouri Baptist, but in the bottom of the ninth, the team scored three runs to tie the game up 5-5 and went on to defeat the Spartans 6-5 in the bottom of the 10th, advancing to the American Midwest Conference Championship.
The Spartans struck first in the top of the second inning, scoring two runs on three hits on Owls starter Dane Smith, getting RBI from Ricky Pagan and Mykol Sostarich. After a scoreless bottom of the second inning for WWU, Missouri Baptist added to their lead scoring three run on four hits, extending the lead out to 5-0 in the top of the third.
The Owls got on the board in the bottom of the third, as Justin Elmore led the inning off with a single and he was able to advance to second on a Greg Hamrock groundout. No. 2 hitter Stephen Kohler then hit a single to shallow left-center, scoring Elmore and cutting the lead down to 5-1.
The team added another run in the bottom of the fourth, as Derek Fletcher hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Jacob Harrison whom led the inning off with a walk, putting the score now at 5-2 MBU. In the top of the sixth, starter Dane Smith was relieved by Trevor Manis, after Smith allowed the first two batters in the inning to reach base.
Manis walked the only batter he faced, loading up the bases for MBU and still nobody out. Kyle Muzechka then came in for the Owls, and got Sostarich and Patrick Johnson to pop out to second base, and then got pinch-hitter Ryan Gunhose to fly out to center, keeping the score at 5-2.
It all came down to the bottom of the ninth for the Owls, and Derek Fletcher got things going with a single to center and he was pinch-ran for by Ryan Schuermann. After a pass by catcher Garrett Vail allowing Schuermann to move up to second, Austin Clapp put runners on the corners for the owls with a single to right center.
Closer Matt Marsh then threw a wild pitch during the Justin Elmore at-bat, allowing Schuermann to score and putting the score now at 5-3. Elmore then reached on a walk, putting the tying run on first for Greg Hamrock. During the Hamrock plate appearance, Clapp was caught stealing as the Spartans were able to get a big second out.
Hamrock battled at the plate and he was able to force a walk as well, putting the tying run on first again for the Owls. Stephen Kohler was up next and he hit an infield single, loading up the bases for No. 3 hitter Zach Nichols. The left fielder came through with a single to third base, scoring Elmore and Hamrock, tying the game up at 5-5.
Matt Thomas had the chance to win the game for the Owls, with the winning run just 90 feet away, however, Marsh got Thomas to strike out, but it was time for extra innings, as the Owls scored three runs on four hits.
After the Owls pitching staff held the MBU offense down going 1-2-3 in the top of the 10 th, the offense had a chance to win the game in the home half of the inning. Jacob Harrison led the inning off with a walk and during Jordan Thompson's at bat, Harrison stole second base getting into scoring position.
Thompson then walked and Fletcher was up next and he tried to move the runners over with a bunt attempt but he popped out, being the first out in the inning. Austin Clapp then reached on an intentional walk, loading up the bases for Elmore. The right fielder forced Marsh's sixth walk of the game, bringing home the winning run for the Owls, defeating MBU 6-5 in comeback fashion.
The offense totaled eight hits, led by Kohler going 2-for-4 with one RBI. Nichols went 1-for-3 with the very important two RBI in the bottom of the ninth. Fletcher and Elmore each chipped in one RBI a piece. Matt Thomas picked up the victory throwing 2/3 of relief for the Owls, as after Smith was pulled, the combined efforts of Manis, Muzechka, John Cavness and Dylan Hastings allowed just one hit through five innings pitched.
The team now advances to the AMC Championship game that will be played Tuesday morning at 11:00 a.m. The Owls will be in wait and see mode who they will face, as Benedictine-Springfield and Lyon play at 4:00 p.m. and the winner of that game will play Missouri Baptist. The winner of Benedictine-Springfield/Lyon vs. Missouri Baptist will face off against William Woods on Tuesday.