HUNTINGDON – Trailing by eight runs heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, the chances of Huntingdon’s baseball team winning were slipping away, and according to coach Alan Eubank, Friday would be a deciding factor on the season.
The Mustangs made the decision to rally with eight runs in the sixth inning to tie the game. A Josh Furr walk-off single in the eighth was the deciding run as Huntingdon came from behind to beat Trenton Peabody 10-9 in the Huntingdon Diamond Classic.
“We watched an [inspirational] video before the game,” Huntingdon coach Alan Eubanks said. “I thought the season came down to today. We were down, and we could have folded and played like we have been. We fought back, and I think this game gave them self-confidence. We are capable of big things. We just have to do it.”
Peabody entered into the classic with a perfect 9-0 record, but the Golden Tide dropped all three games in Huntingdon to fall to 9-3. Huntingdon improved to 5-8.
Peabody scored three runs in the third inning and four runs in the fourth to jump out to a 7-1 lead. The three runs in the third inning were all unearned.
The Golden Tide scored two more in the top of the sixth as Matthew Pickard and Kendrick Malone scored on an error.
Peabody sophomore pitcher Nick Barron pitched well in the first five innings, allowing one run on two hits.
But Huntingdon started to figure out Barron’s pitching in the sixth inning as freshman Elijah Wilkerson and sophomore Ben Clifft drove in one run each on RBI singles to cut the Peabody lead to 9-4.
A walk loaded the bases with no outs, and the Golden Tide made a pitching change.
But that didn’t seem to help as the hits continued. Josh Coleman had an RBI single and Zach Dodson followed with a two-RBI single to cut the Peabody lead to 9-7.
Huntingdon has four seniors, and two come up in the heart of the lineup. Brandon Baker walked, and Furr followed with a two-RBI single to tie the game 9-9.
“I think the seniors have put too much on themselves,” Eubanks said. “We just have to pass the bat, and take it one pitch at a time. I have told them to control what they can control. This is the first time we have done that this season.”
Late in the top of the sixth inning, Wilkerson entered to relieve Baker, the starting pitcher.
Wilkerson picked up the win, going 2.1 innings, allowing no runs on no hits and striking out two. He threw 17 pitches, and 15 were strikes.
“These were tough conditions for him to come in and play in,” Eubanks said. “He came in in a tough situation, and he is just a freshman. Once you are part of the program, you are a Mustang, whether you are a freshman or a senior. I never hesitated to put him in.”
With Wilkerson’s help on the mound, Huntingdon got back to the top of the lineup in the eighth inning.
No. 2 batter Kade Pearson led the inning off with a single, and one batter later, Furr had the walk-off to score him.
Furr and Wilkerson had two hits each to lead the Mustangs.
Michael Odom, 425-9754