Walk-off walk completes four-run rally for EHT
EHT scored four runs on four walks and three hit batters to come back and beat Oakcrest 9-8 in a Cape-Atlantic League inter-division game Wednesday. The Eagles took advantage of the small strike zone established throughout the game in a high-pressure situation.
“We made them throw a lot of pitches, and that’s a part of the game,” Carmichael said.
Going into the seventh, Carmichael turned to his coaches for a game plan and one suggested they take pitches.
“I said, ‘well, we haven’t taken (strikes) all game, and we’ve been squaring balls up,’ so we collectively decided to take until we got a strike,” Carmichael said. “And as you see, we benefited, and it paid off.”
Oakcrest walked the first two batters of the seventh before changing pitchers. After a strikeout, Connor Agostino was hit by a pitch to load the bases. On the very next pitch, Robbie Petracci was hit to drive in a run and make it 8-6.
Dante DiPalma and Angel Murray were walked and hit by a pitch, respectively, to tie the game. After another strikeout for the second out, leadoff hitter Andrew Fowler walked to bring in Petracci for the winning run.
“(Oakcrest) hit a couple guys, walked a couple guys, so I wasn’t going to go up there to be selfish and swing first pitch like I did in my first at-bat,” Fowler, 18, said. “So I knew I was going to take a strike no matter what, and it happened to be four straight balls and happened to win the game.”
Exciting sophomore outfielder and Wednesday’s starting pitcher Jordan Sweeney went 2 for 3 with a solo and two-run home run in his first two at-bats. He also drew the walk that led off the seventh inning.
“I was definitely going to take a strike,” Sweeney, 16, said of his seventh inning at-bat. “I was being very selective up there. I didn’t get anything to hit, and obviously neither did anyone else. We wanted to go into the inning working counts and got the job done at the end.”
But it was the bottom four of EHT’s lineup that came up huge in the sixth and seventh innings and provided big at-bats.
Petracci was 2 for 3 with two runs and two RBIs, DiPalma had an RBI and hit the ball hard three times and Cory Smith doubled and drove in a run. Murray also reached base safely four times, drawing two walks and getting hit by two pitches.
Relief pitcher Mike Dodd pitched a perfect top of the seventh and earned the win.
“I tell these kids all the time that we have 16 kids here that at any given time can be called in to duty to come up with a clutch hit or step up and pitch” Carmichael said.
It was a back-and-forth game through the first four innings. Oakcrest led 1-0 and 2-1 on errors in the first and third innings. Donnie Stone hit a three-run homer in a four-run fourth inning that gave the Falcons a 6-4 lead.
Jailen Heard scored on an error, and Alec Rodriguez drove in Heard with a double to build an 8-4 lead in the sixth. EHT got a run back in the bottom of the sixth on an error before completing the comeback in the seventh.
Oakcrest coach Scott Olson hopes Wednesday’s game is easy to forget.
“The good thing for us is we schedule a lot of games to play,” Olson said. “There’s nothing we’re going to do or talk about. We’re just going to move on to tomorrow.”
Oakcrest 101 402 0—8 8 2
Egg Harbor Twp 103 001 4—9 6 4
2B—Rodriguez O; Smith, Petracci EHT. HR—Stone O; Sweeney 2 EHT.
WP—Dodd (1-0) 1k. LP—Markley 2k.
Records—Oakcrest 9-7, EHT 11-3.
Contact: 609-272-7210 JRusso@pressofac.com