- Menchville loses chance to repeat its state championship
- Western Branch scores four runs in 12th inning
- Game delayed 94 minutes by bad weather
Number one in the national polls six weeks ago, Menchville's baseball team won't have a chance to be number one in the state.
Richard Eisenhower hit a tie-breaking RBI single in the top of the 12th inning, and Western Branch added three insurance runs for a 5-1 win over the Monarchs in the Eastern Region semifinals. The Bruins (19-5) clinched a spot in the Group AAA tournament while Menchville (18-5) ended its season.
"This is what Eastern Region baseball is all about," Monarchs coach Phil Forbes said. "Both teams left their hearts on the field out there. We battled every inning and they battled every inning. And when it got to the 12th, you knew it would take a break here and there."
The Bruins' Brandon Doggett made the break by stealing second base with two outs. Eisenhower, who replaced starting pitcher Shane Johnsonbaugh in the ninth, slapped a single through the right side to bring Doggett home.
Bobby Barefoot followed with a ground-rule double to put runners on second and third. Kenny Cassidy then hit a slicing, wind-aided, double to right that made it 4-1. Cassidy scored the inning's fourth run on second baseman Deron Hanley's throwing error.
Deshorn Lake started for Menchville and allowed two hits through 4 2/3 innings. But he also walked five in a game that was delayed 94 minutes because of lightning before the top of the third. So Forbes moved Austin Chrismon over from first base with two outs in the fifth.
Chrismon had pitched four innings two days earlier, and he would end up working 7 1/3 innings Wednesday night. He gave up seven hits, four coming in the 12th.
"I was basically running on adrenalin," he said. "The game plan was to use Deshorn for five or six innings, depending on the score, and I would close -- again, depending on the score. But in a big game like this, I gave it all I had."
After tying the game in the sixth inning, the Monarchs nearly ended it in the bottom of the eighth. With the bases loaded and one out, Josh Moore hit a fly ball to shallow left center. Hanley tagged from third, and Barefoot threw him out on a close play.
"Deron slid and was called out -- it could have gone either way," Forbes said. "We could have won 2-1. Instead, so we kept on playing."
Chrismon thought Hanley was safe.
"He's the fastest guy I know," he said. "But when he was called out, it I don't know the right word for it. It broke our hearts."
The Monarchs had another chance in the ninth with the bases loaded and two outs. But Hunter Lewis flew out to center field.
"We gave it all we had," Chrismon said. "We just didn't capitalize on our chance -- chances."
Johnsonbaugh took a no-hitter and a 1-0 lead into the sixth. But Alex Korecky's run-scoring single to left tied the game.
Eisenhower, who had pitched 8 1/3 innings all season, got into immediate trouble in the ninth and 10th but settled down from there.
"I was kind of nervous," he said. "But I knew I just had to throw strikes."
As for his game-winning hit?
"I don't do much swinging this year," he said. "I focus on pitching. So I was just trying to put the bat on the ball."
WESTERN BRANCH 5, MENCHVILLE 1 (12)Western Branch ..100..000..000..004 -- 5 9 3Menchville .000..001..000..000 -- 1 7 3WP--Eisenhower (1-0). LP--Chrismon (6-2). Standouts: Western Branch, Barefoot 3-5, Cassidy 3-6 (RBI). Menchville, Hanley 2-5 (run), Korecky 2-4 (RBI).
Become a fan of Daily Press sports. Click HERE
Become a fan of HRVarsity. Click HERE
Follow Daily Press sports. Click HERE
Follow HRVarsity. Click HERE