PHILIPPI – Philip Barbour coach Jonathan Carpenter picked the right opportunity Thursday to unleash a strategy that seems to be a lost art in the world of baseball.
With the score tied 4-4 against Braxton County and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning, Carpenter called for the squeeze play.
Carpenter’s strategy paid dividends, as Bai Carpenter perfectly executed a bunt that allowed Chris Neville to race home with the winning run.
“We decided to roll the dice and it worked out well,” the Colts coach said. “It’s a play that was going to make me look like a genius or like an idiot, and fortunately our guys came through.”
After seeing the Eagles take a 4-3 lead into the top of the seventh with two runs, Tyler Baldwin started the rally in the home-half of the frame with a one-out single.
Neville then reached first on a throwing error with Baldwin advancing to third on the play.
A fly ball by Zac Short just past second base was then dropped, allowing Baldwin to score the tying run.
After Al Johnson drew a walk to load the bases, Bai Carpenter bunted the first pitch he saw to produce the game winner.
“Our guys showed a lot of resiliency in fighting back,” Jonathan Carpenter said. “We made some mistakes but were able to overcome the adversity and get the win.”
Jacob Marsh, in his first-ever varsity start, went all seven innings to earn the win. He gave up four runs on eight hits and fanned six.
“Jacob came in and threw strikes,” Jonathan Carpenter said. “He’s been a relief pitcher for us in the past, but did a good job in a starting role.”
Troy McMillion took the loss for Braxton in five innings of relief, allowing four runs on five hits.
The Eagles had taken a 4-3 lead when Chase Oney cracked an RBI triple and Brandon Bukovesky a run-producing single.
Philip Barbour broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth as Al Johnson scored on Saige Cline’s single.
Neville had an RBI double in the third and Sean Curtis an RBI single in the fifth for the Colts, who have won five out of their last six games.
Nathan Shaffer smacked a two-run single in the fifth for Braxton County, which saw its record drop to 9-8.
Philip Barbour (7-10) will travel to Lincoln at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday for a Big 10 Conference contest.