(April 17th, 2015) – PETTISVILLE: The Blackbirds nearly claimed victory after a spectacular rally in the bottom of the sixth and seventh innings. Yet a failed suicide squeeze turned into the most unlikely of double plays, forcing extra innings.
Pettisville would not be able to come from behind again, dropping the contest in the eighth inning by a 7-5 score.
Getting things started early, the Blackbird boys pulled ahead of their guests from Henry County early with a 1-0 margin in the bottom of the first. The next three innings saw neither team put points on the board.
It was in the fifth inning that Holgate was able to make their move.
A couple of errors allowed the Tigers to build momentum, leading to a 4 run outing before relinquishing control of the batter’s box. The hometown boys of Pettisville had no immediate answer for this sudden barrage of runs, going scoreless in the bottom of the fifth. Holgate would go on to tack on another run in the top of the sixth, making things look bleak for the Blackbirds.
With a strong display of mental toughness, however, Pettisville did not relent. Adding 2 runs to their total in the bottom of the sixth, they were poised to make a run at the lead in the game’s seventh inning. They did just that, scoring 2 more runs and tying the contest at 5-5, carrying just a single out with a runner on third base.
The call was a suicide squeeze, as the batter was to bunt and the base runner to take off for home plate. It didn’t play out that way, however, as the bunt was missed, giving the Blackbird boy in the batter’s box a third strike. The runner had already taken off for home, and found himself caught in a rundown, eventually getting himself tagged out and ending the inning.
Holgate put up 2 more runs in the eighth inning of play, and the boys from Fulton County couldn’t muster another great offensive effort, losing the game by a pair of runs.
Dustin Nofziger led Pettisville from the plate, hitting 3 for 4 on the contest. He drove in 2 RBIs, scoring 2 runs himself as well. Teammate Christian Barhite went 2 for 4 on the evening. He also earned an RBI. Eli King made contact with the ball 2 of his 3 attempts from the plate, and Tate Kauffman went 2 for 5 in the losing effort.
Despite an impressive effort on the part of Landon Roth, the freshman pitcher was handed the loss. In 3.1 innings of work, Roth gave up 3 earned runs on just 2 hits. He also struck out 5 Holgate batters, including all three batters he faced in the sixth inning. Senior Eli King started the game, and had a solid day from the mound, save that disastrous fifth inning, which saw him give up 4 runs, none of which were earned.
The loss drops Pettisville’s record to 6-2, while their perfect 4-0 mark in Buckeye Border Conference play remains unblemished.
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