Tigers Even Series With Huge Win
Sunday night it was do or done time for the Tigers. A loss would end their season. A win would move them to a deciding game three at Stark on Tuesday night. Brandon Wilhelmi came through on the mound and some clutch base hits kept Springfield alive with a big bottom of the ninth victory.
Stark started scoring in the top of the second when they worked a lead-off walk that came around to score on a double. Springfield answered in the bottom of the inning as Ryan Sturm led-off with a solid single. Bob Fink moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt. Jon Diede came through with a clutch double to tie the game at one.
The Longhorns went back to work in the top of the third, getting two runs, again with the aid of a lead-off walk, a Tiger error and two base hits, moving the tally to 3-1. Springfield cut the lead to one in the bottom of the inning when Kyle Kraska got a four-pitch, one-out walk. He stole second and again with two outs another Tiger came through. This time it was Brady Schwab who picked up an RBI with a single to leftfield.
After allowing the two runs in the third, Wilhelmi was nearly unhittable. Brandon allowed just one hit over the final six innings, retiring fourteen of the final sixteen Stark batters. He also played excellent defense, including an interesting pitcher-to-first put-out he never even got his hand on. The ball was hit hard back to the mound and deflected off Wilhelmi's foot and over to first baseman Sturm for the out.
The Springfield offense got at least one base runner in every inning, but were unable to pick up the tying run. Then came the bottom of the ninth. Diede was hit by the first pitch and was lifted for pinch runner, Bill Roiger. Chris Sturm followed with a sacrifice bunt, moving Roiger to second. Wilhelmi was called out on strikes for the second out. The top of the Tiger order came up in Kraska. He worked the count full. With the season hanging on his final strike, he ripped a base hit to center, scoring Roiger and tying the game. Kraska stole second and Matt Baier smashed a single to drive in Kraska and give the Tigers an exciting 4-3 win.
The win ties the best-of-three series at one game a piece. Springfield travels back to Stark on Tuesday evening for an 8:00pm showdown. The Tigers hope to carry the momentum from the game two win to change their fortunes at Stark this year, where they have been out-scored 33-6 in two meetings with the Longhorns. We'll see you on Tuesday night!
|R. Sturm, 1B||4||1||2||0||0||0|
|C. Sturm, LF||2||0||0||0||1||0|
|Wilhelmi (W, 3-4)||9||4||3||3||3||8|