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Seventh-inning heroics give Crawford win

April 16, 2008
Going into the seventh inning and leading 7-3, it looked like a sure thing that the Perry Central Commodores would get a Patoka Lake Athletic Conference win over visiting Crawford County Thursday afternoon. But as Yogi Berra would say, it's not over till it's over, and some seventh inning heroics on the part of the Wolfpack gave Crawford an 8-7 win.

"They're buying into that whole philosophy and that's great," said Crawford coach Greg Gogel. "That is great, because we have to have that 'never say die' effort. If we can go about our work and not commit errors, we're going to be in ball games. We've got to make it count in the end."

Perry Central's Wes Linette slides under a high-flying Chris Newton in the bottom of the fourth inning for a stolen base, but Crawford County came away with an 8-7 win. (Photo by Wade Bell)
"That last inning wasn't fun to watch," said a disappointed Perry coach Ty Guillaume.

It was a busy first inning, with both teams getting on the board. Zach Sturgeon got a lead-off single, then, with two outs, Chris Newton smacked a double to give Crawford a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the inning, Wes Linette hit a double with one out. Bo Gibson followed that with a two-run homer and Perry was on top, 2-1.

After Crawford went down in order in the top of the second, Perry added to its lead. Zach Lutring reached safely following a Crawford error. The Wolfpack got the next two outs, but then Crawford pitcher Ean Edwards struggled with the strike zone, hitting Perry's next three batters to force in a run.

Following a Sturgeon double in Crawford's next at-bat, Jacob Bullington reached on a Perry mistake, with Sturgeon getting to third. Bo Benham then punched in a single and the Crawford deficit was one, 3-2.

Both teams went down in order their next at-bats, then Perry gave itself a bit more breathing room. Pat Van Winkle reached base after being hit by a pitch. Pinch-runner D.J. Shaw then scored on Michael Jarboe's long sacrifice fly, Perry's lead going to 4-2.

Crawford got that one back in the fifth on a Bo Benham solo homer.

In the bottom of the sixth, however, the Commodores got a double by Tony Backer and a single by Jarboe. After Backer scored, Linette ripped a home run to right field for two more runs and a 7-3 lead going into the seventh.

Gogel referred back to his two losses for what was to happen next.

"We got a couple stolen from us because we didn't play good baseball at one time during the game, whether it be Northeast Dubois or at North Harrison," he said. "There was the course of about four or five plays that cost us the game. We lost both of them by one run in the bottom of the last inning.

"These guys did a good job of keeping their head in there. We were bound to get one of those if we played good baseball. Tonight, we played good baseball compared to those other couple of nights, and it came back to us."

Casey Benham began the inning with a pop-up for the first out, giving Perry some confidence that this game was in hand. That was premature, however, as Ryan McGovern reached safely on following a Perry error.

Sturgeon flied out again, making the game look like it was safely in Perry's hands, but Bullington then walked for two baserunners. Bo Benham then hit a single to score McGovern. Chris Newton followed that with a double to score both Bullington and Benham, closing the Crawford deficit to 7-6.

Seth Roetz went to the mound for the Commodores, but Crawford's confidence and rhythm continued as Jesse Allen also ripped a double, scoring Newton. Allen then stole third, and moments later scored on a Perry error with Shelton batting, Crawford taking an 8-7 lead.

Perry still had one last chance, and got things going as Ryan Hanan and Austin Hauser led off with infield singles. Gogel pulled in Casey Benham to pitch at that point. He quickly struck out Roetz for the first out but not before a double steal by the two base runners.

Backer then looped what looked to be a sure hit to short centerfield, but Newton sprinted for an over-the-shoulder catch to rob Backer of the hit. Benham struck out Van Winkle for the final out, giving Crawford the come-from-behind win.

"I just have to give credit to those guys," Gogel said. "We were talking about couple of weeks ago about putting them in pressure packed situations and being after them. You can only talk so much and coach and do things so much. The players have to play. The players have to play and make the plays. They bought into that and came through when we needed it most."

Crawford finished with eight hits and had just one error, with Sturgeon, Bo Benham and Newton getting two hits each. Crawford's pitchers struck out four, but also hit four Perry batters. C.J. Shelton got the win.

"The young kid can play a little bit," Gogel said of Shelton. "He's just got to keep on getting better. We threw him in a tough situation and he got some bad breaks. I think if this was a wooden bat league, they would have broke a couple of bats in those seeing-eye singles. He was working ahead of hitting a spot."

Perry finished with 11 hits and had three errors, with Hauser and Linette getting three hits each and Gibson adding a couple of hits. The Commodore pitchers struck out seven and walked three.

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