After falling in five straight contests, the Bethel Pilots responded in a big way on Saturday with back-to-back extra-inning, one-run contests against Spring Arbor. BC opened the day with a 6-5 victory over the Cougars, who had downed BC just a day earlier 13-2, and closed the outing with a 4-3 win in the nightcap. The Pilots are now 17-14 on the season and 7-12 in league action.
On top of the Cougars 5-1 after three full innings, the Pilots hit a roadblock in the bottom of the fifth when the hosts rattled off four runs to knot the contest at five runs each. Back-to-back scoreless frames pushed the game into extra innings, and the Pilots took full advantage of the opportunity. In the top of the eighth, the Pilots drew a pair of walks before Brandon Diss cranked a double down the left-field line. The batted ball was enough to send Seth Kermode from second all the way to home plate to record the go-ahead run. In the bottom half of the inning, BC recorded a timely double play and a F9 in the scorebook gave BC their first win of the week.
Jared Laurent went the distance for the Pilots from the hill, tossing eight complete innings while allowing seven hits and five runs.
In game two, roles were reversed as the Pilots found themselves in a 3-1 hole after four complete frames. A two-out rally in the top of the fifth erased the deficit thanks to hits by Austin Branock and Diss and a SAU miscue. In carbon-copy fashion to game one, neither team could break the tie in the sixth or seventh, and the game moved into extra innings. Bethel got back on track in the eighth when a single from Mike Wathier plated Diss, who was aboard via a walk, to give Bethel a one-run edge.
Coach Seth Zartman called on Branock to finish the contest from the hill, and the senior responded with three consecutive outs. While Branock picked up the save, Caleb MacPherson earned the win for Bethel after throwing seven innings of work that included eight strikeouts.
Bethel’s next matchup will take place on Monday at Richard C. Patterson field when the Foresters from Huntington University come into town for a nine-inning battle starting at 4:00 p.m.