BUCYRUS – Bucyrus Redmen senior Cole Hollis waited for the perfect moment to record his only hit of the game against the Buckeye Central Bucks on Thursday evening at Veterans Memorial Field.
With the Redmen down a run in the bottom of the seventh with two outs, Hollis stepped to the plate with runners on first and second and delivered a hard-hit ball over the left fielder’s head for a two-RBI, walk-off double. The Redmen won 10-9.
“I just went to the plate looking for a fastball I could hit. I fouled the first one off and thought I was in trouble. I recognized another fastball and jumped on it,” Hollis said.
The Bucks looked like they were about to run away with the game early after a five-run second inning and a two-run third gave them a 7-2 lead. Sophomore Trent Craft started things off with a single and a stolen base.
But it was junior Grant Loy’s two-RBI single that really broke things open for the Bucks in the second inning. The next inning, the Bucks would push runs across again on a two-RBI single by junior Tanner Zaebst.
“I was proud of these kids’ effort. They hit the ball extremely well tonight, but only having one senior on the team hurts,” Buckeye Central head coach Chad Jensen said. “We are very young, and in games like this, it shows. We made mistakes, and being young, we are going to be able to learn from them and hopefully not make the same ones again.”
Down by five runs, the Redmen do not normally fare well with their backs against the wall. Thursday night was a completely different story. The Redmen chipped away at the lead scoring runs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings to tie it up. The bottom of the order kept the Bucyrus alive for much of the game. The seven, eight and nine hitters were a combined 4-10.
The biggest momentum swing may have come from a heads-up play by Hollis yet again. With two outs and runners on first and second, Hollis was looking to make a play as the runner on second base to spark his team. A delayed steal did the trick as he swiped third base on a lazy throw back from the catcher.
“I just noticed that they were not paying much attention to me back there and I thought I could make something happen. I took the chance, and I was safe,” Hollis said.
On the next pitch, senior Carson Hershler roped a single to drive Hollis in. Two batters later, senior Dylan Mutchler delivered a two-out, two-RBI single to tie the game.
“Sometimes, Cole is a risk-taker and I have to pull the reins back a little bit, but his play paid off, and I am very glad it did,” Bucyrus head coach Sean Maudsley said
With the game tied heading into the final frame, Buckeye Central responded with a pair of runs to start things off. Junior Jaret Shook belted a double to get the rally going. After a fly out to right, the Bucks were down to their last out. Loy stepped to the plate and hit a hard grounder to third, which took a bad hop and caused an error. Junior Seth Parsons delivered the go-ahead single and was followed up by an RBI double off the bat of senior Austin Lutz.
That set up the drama that ensued with Hollis driving in the final two runs for the walk-off win.
“I was wondering if this team had this kind of come from behind fight in them because I have not seen it all season. We stayed focused and ended up coming back,” Maudsley said.
Craft had a great day at the plate for the Bucks going 3-4 with three singles, three stolen bases, and one run scored. Shook was the only other Buck to gather two hits with a double and a single. He also scored two runs.
Sophomore Gavin Lewis paced the Redmen with three hits, two singles and a double. He also scored a run and drove in two. Hershler was the only other Bucyrus batter to collect two hits, a single and a double while scoring two runs and driving in one. Hollis finished 1-5 with a double, two RBIs, three stolen bases, and one run scored.
Mutchler also picked up the win on the mound, allowing just two runs and striking out four.
The Redmen improve to 7-7 on the year and 5-5 in the Northern 10 conference. Bucyrus will travel to Riverdale on Friday for a nonleague game.
The Bucks drop to 5-11 and 4-7 in the N10. Buckeye Central will take a long weekend to regroup and host Bucyrus on Monday.