There were plenty of reasons Laurel trailed Northwestern going into the bottom of the seventh inning of Wednesday afternoon's baseball game. There was poor base running and a lack of execution at the plate.
A much bigger problem was the fielding. Seven errors led to five unearned runs.
But the Spartans (2-2-1) didn't dwell on their mistakes and instead rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh to post a 10-9 victory.
It's not the type of contest first-year coach Don Cleveland expects to win that often. But he liked what he saw at the end.
"That was the first half-inning of actual good baseball we played the whole game," Cleveland said of his team's final at-bat. "Throughout the game, we had runners on base and we weren't moving runners over. We finally started to play good baseball. We actually started to bring guys home when they were in scoring position."
Devario Paradise led off the seventh with an infield hit. He stole second.
After Eddie Williams hit into a fielder's choice to move Paradise to third, Northwestern pitcher Shawn Brailer, who replaced starter Brian Davilla with one out in the second, walked Malik Mendez. Mendez then stole second.
The next batter, Lorenzo Young, blooped a single to center field, which scored Paradise to make it 9-9. Mendez moved to third on the play.
Tre Fostson drove in Mendez with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Laurel needed the clutch finish because Northwestern (1-4) scored two runs on a pair of errors and a wild pitch in the top of the seventh.
"We played sloppy defense today," said Laurel sophomore right-hander Tyler Carmen, who went seven innings to earn the victory, giving up six hits and striking out 10. "But we never gave up and kept fighting. It does say a lot about how our season could go. We are always going to be in the game."
Note: Laurel freshman catcher Jarrett Leishear was taken to Laurel Regional Hospital after running into a metal gate at the edge of the Northwestern dugout while pursuing a foul ball in the fourth inning. "He had a laceration under his chin and a bump swelled up on his cheek," Cleveland said. The coach added that the cut required stitches and he had a concussion.