Trailing by five runs heading to the fifth inning, the Bethel baseball team fought all the way back to tie the game against National Trail and was hoping to carry the momentum to a win on Friday night.
Despite not gaining a hit in the sixth inning, the Blazers scratched across a pair of runs in the top of the sixth and held on for a 7-6 thriller in Cross County Conference play.
Both teams put runners on in the opening inning, but could not advance into scoring position. In the second, National Trail went to work.
A leadoff single from Travis Hunt and walk to Trey Mann gave the Blazers a threat to break the scoreless tie. A routine groundout allowed Hunt to score the games’ first run, and when Isaac Plankenhorn drove in another run, and the Blazers led 2-0 against starting pitcher Brian Casto.
The Bees pitcher reached second base after a walk and a National Trail balk in the bottom of the second, but Logan Pettit settled down and struck out Branden Gilbert, followed by a ground out from Ben Lawson.
An inning later, National Trail scored two more runs after loading the bases with one out. Trey Mann lined a two-run single to make it 4-0. Austin Bird relieved Casto for Bethel and retired the final two batters in the third, keeping the Bees’ deficit at four runs.
Bethel loaded the bases in the third but could not score as Christian White hit into a double play. An inning later, the Blazers added to their lead.
With one out, Peyton Lane singled and stole second. He then came into score when Peyton Miller singled to push National Trail’s lead to 5-0.
In the fifth, the Bees came storming back.
Travis Durst walked and Tyler Brueckman reached on an infield single, which preceded Kenton Egbert being hit by a pitch to load the bases. White then drove in Durst, and Brueckman came in to score when the ball got loose in the outer part of the infield, cutting the Bees deficit to 5-2.
Hunter Shelley then plated two more runs with a double to score Egbert and White, and it was a one-run game. With runners later at second and third, Austin Bird looked to make something happen, when Shelley caught everyone off guard and stole home, tying the game at five.
National Trail regained the lead in the top of the sixth scoring two runs on wild pitches, and the Blazers regained the lead at 7-5.
Bethel looked for a walk-off in the final at-bat, as Brueckman grounded out with the bases loaded to make it 7-6, and with the winning runs on base, Egbert struckout to end the threat.