WEST PORTSMOUTH — Down 10-2 and entering bottom of the seventh inning, the West Portsmouth Senators needed a miracle. West had trailed the Huntington Ross Huntsmen 7-0 before picking up a couple of runs in the fifth, and now needed eight more runs to extend their season.
It was then that some magic happened. The ninth hole hitter, Dylan Bradford, reached base on an error, followed by Cody Wiltshire, who hit a single. After that, L.T. Maynard loaded the bases as he took a walk.
With the bases loaded, all pressure was on Garrett Hurd. The Senator fans came alive, as they realized a big inning could be at hand.
Hurd responded, knocking in a couple of runs with a single, slashing the Huntsmen lead to six runs, 10-4.
The Cleanup hitter, Cody Finley was now up to bat. Finley had struggled throughout the game, going 0-for-3 thus far at the plate and getting taken off the mound after the first inning.
Despite struggling throughout the game, when it mattered most, Finley hit a triple that put across another 2 runs, pushing the score to 10-6.
Marty Knittel would take a walk and then Pat Bays drove across another two runs to bring the Senators within two, at 10-8.
But then, the magic faded. A new pitcher came in for the Huntsmen, Jacob Pew, and he struck out Trey Patrick for the first out. Three batters later, the game and the Senator’s season was over.
“We are usually a team that has to jump ahead at the start of the game,” admitted West baseball coach, Chris Rapp. “The way that the season went, we needed the early momentum. They got the lead, but let me just say I am so proud of my guys to be down like we were and come back. We were a base hit away from playing on Saturday in the next round.”
While Finley struggled to start the game, Marty Knittel pitched the remaining six innings in relief, doing an admirable job. He gave up eight hits and three walks, while allowing only four runs and striking out four batters.
“Finley has pitched well for us all year,” said Rapp. “But, it just wasn’t his day. Everyone has that on the mound. Marty was able to come in and get outs for us, and give us a chance.”
West finishes the season at 9-16. They lose Austin Opperman, Finley, and Patrick Bays to graduation.
“Bays and Marty keep us pumped up on the field,” Rapp said. “They are really vocal out there. I’m going to really miss those guys, I want to thank those seniors. They are a classy bunch of boys and I hate to see them go.”
Reach Derrick Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @DC__Parker