Lima, OH – Over the past ten days, the Barons have been in the meat of their schedule losing five while winning three. In those eight games the Barons have continued their season long struggle of getting the early lead, while at the same time continuing their never quit attitude with rallies late in games.
Never, was the above statement more true than on Friday, April 24th versus OSU Newark. In game one the Barons fell behind early and let the game get away from them as they lost big, 17 to 25, while still scoring three runs in the 7th inning when the game was out of hand. Then, in the nightcap the Titans of OSU Newark jumped out to a four to nothing lead in the top of the third inning. The Barons answered with a single run in the bottom of the fourth. However, the Titans later would add what would seem to be the finishing blow with five more runs in the top of the sixth.
At that point the Barons turned to utility player Andy Wisher (Spencerville). Wisher, who hadn’t pitched an inning of college baseball, was brought in out of necessity with the game getting away from starter Chris Boyd (Lincolnview), and with the team needing to save pitching for the doubleheader scheduled for the next day versus another conference foe, OU Zanesville. Wisher came in, kept it simple, and popped his first hitter up, and got his next hitter to ground out to short ending the long inning for the Barons.
The Barons were unable to answer in the bottom of the sixth, and Wisher was able to stop the Titans in the top of the 7th, keeping the score where it was when he came in, Barons trailing nine to one.
Then, the bottom of the 7th inning started, with OSU Newark’s ace Shea Elliott still on the mound. Elliott threw a complete game shutout against the Barons earlier this season, and was on pace to nearly equal the effort, only allowing the single run in the fourth. The first batter of the inning was Brent Riemesch (Celina) who worked Elliott to a full count and walked to lead off the inning. The next to Barons would go down, leaving the Barons with a single runner on, down by eight runs, and with only one out remaining. Many baseball fans know and have said the famous Yogi Berra quote; “It aint over till it’s over!” However, even the most optimistic player, fan, or coach starts to run out of belief when you’re down eight runs with only one out remaining. However, on this day, The Barons didn’t stop believing they could win. So, now to continue where we were, the Barons have two outs, bottom of the 7th, down eight runs, facing OSU Newark ace Shea Elliott, and Ryan Mawer (Paulding) steps to the plate. Mawer keeps the Barons alive, stroking a single down the line in left. The next Baron batter is Andrew Maurer (Shawnee) who draws a walk, followed by Adam Hemker (Delphos St. Johns) who also draws a walk, bringing in Riemesch as the bases were full of Barons (Barons 2 – Titans 9). Now, with the Barons down seven runs and the bases loaded it was Brad Comstock (Hardin Northern) who stepped up to the plate. Comstock was out in front of the pitch, and hit a bouncing ground ball toward Titans shortstop Cody Bragg, what should have been a routine play was complicated by excellent baserunning on the part of Andrew Maurer, who was able to distract Bragg just enough while running to third on the play. The ball hopped up, hitting Bragg on his shoulder, giving Bragg and the Titans their first error of the game (Barons 3 – Titans 9). The next Baron batter, Andy Wisher, drew another bases loaded walk, bringing in Maurer (Barons 4 – Titans 9). So, with the Barons now down five runs and the bases still loaded, LCC product Alan Hankinson stepped to the plate and smacked a double in the left center gap, scoring Comstock and Hemker (Barons 6 – Titans 9).
Now you could start to see nervousness on the Titan players and fans, while Barons players and supporters were starting to get pretty excited. Next up for the Barons was Alphonso Rocha (Paulding), who had been used earlier as a pinch runner for Riemesch. Rocha battled Elliott for a ten pitch walk, bases full of Barons again, tying run at first, winning run stepping up to the plate in the form of Barons right fielder Ryan Zender (Ottawa Glandorf) who earlier made the first out in the inning with a strikeout. Zender refused to go down again as he worked Elliott for another ten pitch walk, bringing in Wisher (Barons 7 – Titans 9). Now, with the tying run at 2nd base and the winning run at first base the atmosphere had picked up immensely. DJ Caprella (Shawnee), had made the 2nd out of the inning earlier when he flew out to deep right center but not this time. Caprella singled to left field, scoring both Hankinson and Rocha to tie the score (Barons 9 – Titans 9), Barons runners still at 2nd and 3rd, and the batter that started it all with two outs early in the inning, Ryan Mawer stepping to the plate. Mawer would turn on an offspeed pitch, in the hole between short and third, fielded by Titan shortstop Bragg, but Bragg’s throw went off line, giving Mawer the base, and scoring Zender to give the Barons the unbelievable win that would make Yogi Berra very proud!
After the game, the Titan players were understandably upset, but at the same time very respectful of the Barons effort as you could hear several Titans saying “Heck of a job guys” as they walked through the line shaking hands. When asked about the game, Head Coach Livchak said “That was a game I will never forget. I’ve been a part of over a thousand games as either a coach or a player, and never before have I seen a comeback of that magnitude! I’m overcome with pride for these guys. I mean that was a whole team effort. It took everyone on this roster to do this, not just one guy. I’m just very proud of the Barons today.” Associate Head Coach Ambroza added “You try to teach your guys to never quit in a game, but nothing you say can ever come across as convincingly as this game will. I’m taking home a piece of this one with me to remember it forever and I told the guys to all do the same!”
In 2004, the Boston Red Sox came back to win a best of 7 series versus the New York Yankees, after trailing 3 games to none. In 2008, Jason Lezak made up for a near two meter deficit to win the Olympic 4 x 100 meter relay. Just a couple weeks ago, Boston University came back from a two goal deficit with under two minutes left in the game to win the NCAA Hockey National Championship. And, on April 24th, in Lima, OH, The Barons successfully rallied from 8 runs down and only one out remaining to win an ORCC baseball game.