Baseball: Stevenson stuns Warren with 7th-inning comeback
It had been a long couple of days for the Stevenson baseball team.
Playing a home-and-home series against Warren, the Patriots had lost the opening contest Monday 13-8 on their home turf.
And Tuesday at the Blue Devils stadium, they held the advantage most of the way in a lengthy, tense game, but watched Warren score 3 times in the bottom of the sixth to take a 6-4 lead.
Then came the top of the seventh. And despite the fact that darkness was just starting to creep across the field, all of a sudden everything seemed a little brighter for the Pats.
Stevenson sent 11 men to the plate in the final frame and scored 6 runs, then held on for a 10-6 North Suburban Conference win.
"We just didn't want to give up," said Pats shortstop JR Nelson, who came up with the big hit in the seventh. "We're going to play until the last out is made, that's just the nature of our team.
"We took a little Tennessee trip over spring break, and we showed the same kind of fight there late in games."
Adam Schilz led Warren at the plate with 3 hits.
"I thought we were in a pretty good spot today," said Blue Devils coach Clint Smothers, "but you've got to give credit to Stevenson. They battle every time out."
The Pats (9-5, 1-2) were behind midway through but came up with a 3-spot in the fourth, thanks to a 3-run double from Michael Belbot.
The visitors held onto that lead until the home half of the sixth, when an inside-the-park homer from Warren's Charlie Badgley, on a blast to the right-field fence, helped the Blue Devils forge a 2-run lead.
But Stevenson loaded the bases in the seventh with nobody out. The Patriots plated one run, and then Nelson, a right-handed hitter, went the other way and stroked a 2-run single to right to give them the lead.
"Their pitchers were working outside all game," said Nelson, "so I decided I might as well go that way, try to get a base hit for the team and do my job."
"We came into the seventh up two," said Smothers, "then we walked two guys, and you can't walk two guys when you're up two runs. You've got to have a bulldog mentality and today we didn't have that."
Stevenson scored 3 more insurance runs, then sophomore pitcher Brady Rosenkranz, on in relief, bore down in the seventh by striking out the side to put the game in the win column for the Pats.
Rosenkranz indicated that despite being down with just three outs to go, the Patriots were still confident.
"In the dugout (prior to the rally) we got some energy and we were able to pick each other up," he said.
"I just went out there, threw strikes, and trusted my defense."
Badgley added a double to go along with his home run for Warren (9-3, 2-2), while Clark Cole and Badgley each had 2 RBI for the Blue Devils.
Belbot, Colin Schmitke and Joe Richardson each finished with a couple of hits for Stevenson.
"Felt great to get a win," said Nelson, "get that W in conference. And the end of the day that's all that matters."