PERRY TOWNSHIP – The Division IV sectional baseball championship game between Allen East and Perry ran the entire gamut of emotions, as the two teams traded potential knock-out punches for seven innings.
The Mustangs finally scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to grab an improbable last at bat 9-8 victory over the Commodores Tuesday evening at Perry’s Phil Krouskop Field.
Allen East (15-8) got off to a great start when it scored four runs in the first inning.
Perry starting pitcher Ben Sanders walked the first three Mustang batters before Erik Neeley and Travis Wireman singled and Perry coach Mark Hoersten was forced to bring in Corey Smith to quell the uprising.
Smith got out of the inning despite two wild pitches which allowed the fourth Mustang run to score.
Allen East starting pitcher sophomore Braden Goodwin sailed through the first two innings before Perry woke up offensively.
The Commodores struck for two runs in both the third and fourth innings before plating four fifth inning runs to grab an 8-5 lead.
The Commodores (11-12) began their comeback in the third when No. 9 hitter Kavion Milligan walked to begin the inning. Sanders followed with a single before a two-out error let both runners score to get to with-in 5-2.
Seth Ewing and Andrew Russell started the fourth inning with back-to-back singles. Right fielder Milligan sacrificed the runners to second and third and short-stop R.J. King drove them both home with a two out single and the Commodores were with-in 5-4.
Perry would grab the lead at 8-5 in their next at bat when Chad Henson reached base on a passed ball after striking out. Back-to-back walks to Ewing and Russell loaded the bases and pinch hitter Dalton Bunch drove home two runs with a solid single to right. Milligan followed with a perfect squeeze bunt and the fourth run of the inning scored on an infield error by the Mustangs.
Smith and Perry breezed through the sixth inning and still held the lead at 8-5 when Allen East came to bat in the bottom of the seventh.
Lead-off batter Reggie Keller drew a lead-off walk and center fielder Derek Ketcham followed with an RBI triple to get the Mustangs to with-in 8-6. An infield error by the Commodores allowed Ketcham to score and suddenly the Mustangs were with-in 8-7.
An infield out was quickly followed by Wireman singling in the tying run. Another walk put runners on first and second before Smith recorded the second out of the inning on a strike out. Short stop Nate Robinson then drove a stake into the hearts of the Commodore faithful as he singled and Wireman crossed the plate with the winning run. It was the third win for the Mustangs over Perry this season.
“It’s not how but how many,” Allen East coach Bill Yetman, who is in his final season, said. “We talked all year about not quitting and we brought that to the plate tonight. This was a great team and Casey Crow came up big for us today. He has good control and came in and threw strikes.”
An obviously disappointed Hoersten talked about missed opportunities and mistakes.
“You can’t walk people and you can’t commit errors,” Hoersten said. “We had our opportunities and we deserved a better fate, but, give credit to Allen East, they didn’t quit.”
Allen East advances to the district tournament against the Miller City/Leipsic winner at 5 p.m. May 22 at Elida.