Bethel Baseball Wins 14-Inning Slugfest in Dramatic Fashion over Taylor
Some might believe that March Madness only takes place on the basketball court, but the madness took place on the baseball diamond today as the Bethel Pilots baseball team defeated Taylor 21-20 in 14 innings of play. With the victory, they avenged two losses that they had suffered at the hands of the Trojans less than 24 hours earlier. The dramatic win is the first league victory for BC this season and breaks a five-game skid that has plagued BC since their return from spring break.
If buzzer beaters existed in baseball, the Pilots turned in three against TU in the 14-inning affair. On three occasions with the game on the line, the Pilots rallied to extend or ultimately win the game.
The Trojans started out hot by taking an early 8-0 lead after three innings with the Pilots tallying their first run in the bottom of the third frame. Taylor continued to find success adding another run in the fourth, but Bethel responded with three runs in the bottom of the fifth to narrow the gap to eight.
In most baseball games, an eight-run lead would normally secure a victory, but Taylor added an insurance run in the top of the eighth to widen the gap to nine with just one-and-a-half innings left unplayed. Instead of surrendering in less than favorable circumstances, Bethel produced their first of three comeback efforts. Needing nine to tie, BC got a boost from the TU pitching staff who put a plethora of Pilots on the base path on hit batters and walks. Bethel took full advantage of the free base runners thanks to four hits, headlined by a bases-clearing triple by Heath Brooksher and a three-run homer off the bat of Eric Kelver. When the dust settled, BC had plated the nine runs needed to knot the game on four hits with no men left on base.
In the top of the ninth, the Trojans’ offense came back to life to plate three runs, and the Pilots once again entered the bottom half of an inning needing a rally, and rally they did. Six hits, four of which came on two outs, plated the three runs needed to force extra innings. Once again, it was Brooksher who came up big with a single up the middle that allowed the first two runners to cross the plate. He then crossed the plate, scoring the tying run on an RBI single by Sean Luzon.
Both offenses went scoreless for the next four innings until Taylor posted four runs in the top of the 14th inning to put all the pressure back on the Pilots to rally again for a chance to win their first league game. The Pilots’ resiliency surfaced one last time. After hits from Mike Wathier, Luzon, and Cam Galloway, BC still needed two runs to tie and three to win. Following the three BC hits, a fielder’s choice was the second out of the frame for TU but also plated Luzon and moved the tying run 90 feet away and the go-ahead run standing on first base. In the clutch, senior Austin Branock stepped to the plate and delivered his sixth hit of the day, a single into left that plated the tying and game-winning runs.
In the slugfest, BC and TU combined for 49 hits and 41 runs in 14 innings of play. Branock led the Pilots with six hits in eight plate appearances while recording five RBIs and scoring four. Gallaway finished with five hits while Brooksher and Wathier both tallied four. Brooksher also finished with six RBIs with five coming in the back-to-back comeback efforts in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively.
The Pilots will be back in action Monday with a home doubleheader set for 1:00 p.m. against Grace College.