For all the walks Hillcrest picked up Monday, a quick scamper home was the deciding move that bumped the Comets to .500 in the conference Monday night. Hosting Brandon-Evansville, Hillcrest showed great patience, picking up three walks in the final frame before shaking hands and huddling in the dugout with the win.
The Comets jumped to decisive 3-0 lead in the first inning. Senior Sean McGuire found first base with a bunt single, stole 2nd, and booked it home on a wild pitch after Nick Foss and Reggie Undseth bumped McGuire to 3rd through back-to-back walks. Sam Ihrke and Jake Steinle provided some sharp hitting, moving Foss and Undseth to the dugout as the Comets took the field in the top of the second inning through patience and sharp base running.
In the proceeding innings Brandon-Evansville scored 8 runs, putting the Comets in an 8-4 hole. Colin Erickson and Troy Tonnesen executed a double-steal, where Tonnesen was thrown out as Erickson slid into home in the midst of the Chargers' rally.
The Comets put their rally caps on in the final inning. Sam Isaac delivered with a one out hit, jogging home after McGuire pounded an RBI triple to the fence. Foss showed patience at the plate, using his small strike zone to move to first base by walk, and then Foss and McGuire executed a double steal to move the Comets within 2.
Three consecutive walks to Undseth, Ihrke, and Steinle loaded the bases, bringing in Foss by default, moving Hillcrest within 1, Ihrke 180 feet from home as the go ahead run.
Colin Erickson stepped into the box and peered down the third base line, taking his orders from Coach Steve Undseth. Stepping into the box, Erickson patiently waited for his pitch, finally connecting a sharp liner that snuck through the infield and provided a base hit. A quick throw home was off the mark, allowing Undseth to slide in with no concern. Ihrke, watching the ball dribble away from the catcher, scampered 90 feet to lift the Comets over the Chargers, 9-8.
"We have been on both the winning and losing side of games like that this year, including our earlier game with B-E, which we were also fortunate to win by the same score," started Comet Coach Steve Undseth. " I was pleased with the way Troy threw tonight as he struck out 8 in 5 innings of work and allowed just 5 hits. Reggie and Sean each reached base 4 times and scored twice, and Sam Isaac went 2 for 3 and got the big rally started for us in the 6th. It was very gratifying to see our resilience in coming back like that against a very good baseball team."
The Comets are 5-5 in the Pheasant Conference. Their final home game is Friday, May 19.