Baseball: Marengo walks off win over Hampshire
Ty Sierpien and Carter Heimsoth contributed to Marengo's big sixth inning with patience at the plate, each drawing walks.
In the seventh inning, neither wasted any time doing some damage. Sierpien doubled to left field the first pitch he saw with two outs.
Heimsoth, a left-handed hitter, then ripped an 0-1 pitch to left-center field to chase Sierpien home for a walk-off 8-7 victory over Hampshire in their nonconference baseball game at Rod Poppe Fields.
"I was just trying to pass the baton off to the next guy and keep it going," Sierpien said. "We got two outs, get on base some way. I'm always thinking first pitch, I don't want to get deep in the count and let the umpire call it."
Hampshire reliever Casey Kaszniak got a strikeout and a ground out and almost had the Whip-Purs, who had tied the score at 7-7 with a run in the top of the seventh, to extra innings.
"It was a fastball on outside corner, just decided to do what we do in practice and take it the other way," Heimsoth said. "I knew right away. It felt so good off the bat, I knew it was going to drop."
The Indians (5-2) rushed onto the field to mob Sierpien, then ran to Heimsoth on the infield.
Hampshire (1-1) took a 6-3 lead with three in the fifth, then two more on Matt Karbowski's home run in the sixth. Whips reliever Kyle Johnson struck out five batters among the six outs he got in the fourth and fifth innings.
Dominick Kooistra entered in the sixth, which Marengo freshmen Quinn Lechner led off with an infield single to the hole at shortstop, just beating Karbowski's throw to first.
Kooistra got a strikeout, but then ran into trouble. Collin Aubry singled, then Sierpien and Heimsoth walked, bringing in one run to make it 6-4.
Kooistra struck out No. 3 hitter Caden Vogt, but then walked Andrew Johnson and Asheten Valenti, which tied the score at 6-6. Kaszniak came in and walked Patrick Signore and the Indians had taken a lead with one ball that left the infield.
"Early in the season we have some guys who don't have a ton of experience on the mound, trying to get them out there, get their legs under them and it didn't work out today," Whips coach Frank Simoncelli said. "It was a struggle to find the strike zone, but they competed."
Marengo coach Nick Naranjo said his players were not given "take" signs, but did a great job of being patient.
"We really pride ourselves on having an approach," Naranjo said. "We want to hunt the fastball and stay within our zone."
The inning finally finished when Lechner hit into a fielder's choice.
"We stayed disciplined at the plate," Heimsoth said. "We saw the pitcher struggling a little bit, so we decided not to give him anything for free and stuck with our game plan and took pitches we didn't need to swing at."
Hampshire came back to tie it in the seventh when Dominic Borecky singled and moved to third on Logan Massie's single. Simoncelli called for a straight steal and Massie, facing on 0-2 count, singled right where Signore, Marengo's second baseman had been before he went to cover the base.
Borecky then scored on a wild pitch, but Cody Stallings got the one batter he faced to ground out and picked up the win.
"We had a really rough inning, a couple of errors that cost us (in the fifth)," Naranjo said. "They take the lead, but I'm super-happy for our guys to battle back with the patience at the plate."
Sierpien thought Lechner's leadoff infield hit was the key to the sixth.
"It was just coming together," Sierpien said. "Quinn started off with a hit then Collin got another hit, then we got a bunch of walks. That leadoff guy's is the most important, getting him on is pretty big."