Kennett wins in dramatic fashion
● By Steven Hoffman
Ben Lesher delivered a two-out, two-run double in the top of the tenth inning to help lead Kennett to a dramatic 8-7 win over Octorara on April 13.
In the bottom half of the inning, Lesher returned to the mound and preserved the victory for Kennett by surrendering just one run before getting three outs to complete the marathon game. Recording the final three outs wasn’t easy, but then nothing came easy for either team on this day. It was a particularly tough game for pitchers and fielders on the windswept Roy L. “Sonny” Skiles Field as players from both teams struggled with the swirling winds on Octorara’s home field. Every pop up was an adventure, and nearly every grounder was a heat-seeking missile destined to reach the outfield.
At the onset, Kennett looked like it was going to post a big inning and maybe cruise to an easy victory—the Blue Demons’ first three hitters all reached base against Octorara starter Ryan Shillinger. But Shillinger did a good job of limiting the damage, and Kennett scored just one run on a wild pitch.
Octorara answered back in the bottom of the first when Matt Rudisill drove in a run on a little dribbler that found a safe resting spot between the pitcher, the first baseman, and the second baseman as Andy Imberowicz raced home.
Kennett reclaimed the lead in the top of the third when Sam Lesher doubled home Nick Patterson, who had reached base on an error, making it 2-1.
Octorara’s Aaron Feld drove in a run in the bottom of the third inning with a hard single. Feld later scored on a wild pitch to give his team a 3-2 lead.
Kennett’s Logan Hall, who collected three hits on the day, drove in Nic Gustafson with a single in the top of the fourth inning. Hall later scored on a hard double to left-center by Patterson, making it 4-3.
Kennett plated two more runs on in the top of the fifth when John Vogel reached base on an error, allowing the two runners who had been on base to score.
Octorara battled back, scoring one run in the bottom of the fifth on a single by John Cummings, and two more runs in the bottom of the sixth when Feld hammered a two-run double to deep left field with two outs.
The score remained tied at 6-6 until the top of the tenth inning when Kennett’s Owen Dougherty belted a sinking liner to left field that fell in for a two-base hit. Mitch Balint reached base on an error and two batters later Ben Lesher delivered the biggest hit of the game when he belted a two-run double over the right fielder’s head. Lesher advanced to third on the throw, but Kennett couldn’t push the extra run across.
In the bottom of the tenth, Lesher, who was entering his third inning of work on the mound, retired the first batter but then he hit Wade Thomas with a pitch and surrendered back-to-back singles to Ben Chase and Imberowicz, the latter hit scoring a run. Lesher got Bobby Bright to fly out to center and then struck out Feld, perhaps Octorara’s most dangerous hitter, with the winning run still on first base.
After struggling a bit to start the season, Kennett has now won three out of its last four games, and has a record of 3-4. Coach Joe Oleykowski, clearly exhausted after watching his team pull out the win in a drama-filled, ten-inning game, said that he was very proud that his team played so hard.
“The win is big for us,” Oleykowski said. “It shows that all these guys are buying in. Everybody played hard. We want to get to the point where we’re going to fight for seven innings.”
Or, if necessary, ten innings.