There’s an old saying to “never look a gift horse in the mouth”.
Delta almost blew a golden scoring opportunity in a sixth inning tie game, then took advantage of a golden gift, scoring two runs on a wild pitch and throwing error to eventually claim a 3-2 NWOAL win over Patrick Henry Wednesday.
The game, suspended in the fourth inning due to lightning last Monday, finished 48 hours later.
After the Panthers’ Gabe Freeman and the Patriots’ JJ Rettig dueled to a 1-1 standoff, both coaches had to look elsewhere because of the new OHSAA pitch count rules.
Panther coach Damon Mattimore went to Travis Dunning and he wasn’t disappointed.
All Dunning did was throw three innings of two hit ball, allowing a seventh inning run before getting a game ending double play keyed by second baseman Cole Mattin.
“With these new rules I have total confidence in my staff,” said Mattimore. “We have some older kids, some may not have that much varsity experience but they have played a lot of baseball, and we have total confidence in everyone on our staff in just throwing strikes and letting our defense work. Today that worked out a little bit for us.”
Before the game was suspended, PH drew first blood with a first inning unearned run off Freeman.
Mason Fintel reached on an error and rode home on Rettig’s double to give PH an early lead.
Delta evened things up in the third when Dunning singled, was sacrificed to second, then came around to score on Freeman’s single and an error.
The score stayed knotted up heading into the bottom of the sixth when Freeman blasted a 2-0 offering from Patriot reliever Christian Peterson into the right-center field gap for a leadoff triple.
Mattin then was hit by a pitch and took second on catcher’s indifference giving the Panthers runners on second and third with no one out.
Peterson fought back to get Jason Beverly on a pop up to second and struck out Rob Arredondo, and after walking Logan Echler to load the bases, he should have got out of the inning unscathed when Justin Anderson popped up behind the plate.
However, Patriot catcher Kal Harris misplayed the ball for an error giving the Panthers new life.
Two pitches later another mistake gave Delta a two-run lead.
Peterson’s 1-2 offering got away allowing Freeman to score, and when Harris’ wide throw to get Freeman wasn’t backed up, it rolled far enough in foul territory down third to bring Mattin around from second for a 3-1 lead.
“A little bit of luck went our way then,” said Mattimore. “I committed a cardinal sin getting the last out at third one inning (when Travis Barnes tried to extend a double into a triple the inning before) so they bailed me out there and the Mattin kid is a quality young player for us.”
Patrick Henry got one back when Fintel tripled down the right field line leading off the seventh and scored on Rettig’s fly to center.
Peterson singled to put the tying run on, but Freeman fielded Harris’ ground ball and with Mattin turning a great pivot in the middle, Delta flipped a 6-4-3 double play to end it.
Dunning grabbed the win on the mound for Delta while Peterson, who went three innings without giving up an earned run, took the loss.
The win moved Delta to 6-2 on the year.
But, the Panthers were outhit 12-1 in an 8-1 defeat on the road at Bryan Thursday. They then followed that up with losses of 11-1 and 9-3 in a doubleheader versus Hicksville on Saturday.
Reach Joe Blystone at email@example.com