Stags Score Two in Ninth, Walk-Off Spartans on Wild Pitch

photo credit: Alisha Alexander
photo credit: Alisha Alexander

CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Stags trailed the visiting Castleton Spartans 3-2 heading to the bottom of the ninth. CMS scored a pair of runs in the frame to earn a thrilling, 4-3 comeback victory. Kevin Nakahara (HMC) pulled a ball through the right side to tie the game and moments later a wild pitch scored pinch runner Deji Andrew (HMC) from third to give CMS the victory.

Chase Eller (CMC) went 3-4 at the dish and scored a run to lead the offensive effort for the Stags. CJ Novogradac (CMC), Sean Emery (CMC), and Nakahara each drove home runs for the Stags in the win.

The Spartans threatened in the first inning with a single and a fielder's choice allowing the first two runners to reach. A pair of strikeouts dampened the early rally for Castleton, but back to back stolen bases put two runners in scoring position with two away. CMS starter Nick Ludwig (CMC) ended the threat with another strikeout and got the Stags to the plate with the game scoreless.

On the other side of the coin, CMS had the complete opposite inning in the bottom of the first. The Spartans got a pair of quick outs and it looked like the Stags were going to go down quietly in the inning. CMS rallied with two away and five-straight batters reached base thanks to three hits and two walks. The two-out rally pushed two runs across on RBI singles from Novogradac and Emery. The Stags took a 2-0 lead heading to the second.

The lead would be cut down to one run in the top of the third when a throwing error would allow a Castleton runner to come in from third. Three innings later, the Spartans would tie the game at 2-2 with a bases loaded walk with two outs in the sixth.

In the top of the eight, the Spartans scratched a run across when a walk, stolen base, and single gave the visitors a 3-2 lead.

During the middle innings, the Stags threatened a number of times, but were unable to find a big hit to score valuable runs. CMS stranded a total of nine runners between the second and eighth innings until they finally strung together the necessary hits in the bottom of the ninth.

The Stags trailed 3-2 when Chase Eller led off the bottom of the ninth with an infield single to third. Trey Smith (CMC) followed with a single through the left side to put the tying run in scoring position. CJ Novogradac then reached on an error to load the bases. The Spartans brought the infield in and got the first out of the inning on a fielder's choice at home on a groundball to the shortstop. Kevin Nakahara stepped to the plate and yanked a pitch through the right side to score Smith from third and tie the game at 3-3.

The very next pitch was high and went all the way to the backstop, bringing pinch runner Deji Andrew in from third for the game-winner run in a 4-3 victory. The Stags stormed the field to celebrate their sixth-straight victory.

Danny Porras (CMC) earned his first career victory, tossing the final two innings of the game and allowing one run on one hit while striking out two. Nick Ludwig was given the no decision after starting the game and giving up just one hit and one unearned run over four innings while striking out seven

The 4-3 victory moves CMS to 8-3 on the season and they will next take the field in a split doubleheader on Friday when Bates and Puget Sound come to town. Bates and CMS will square off at 11:00 a.m. and then the Stags will host the Puget Sound Loggers at 2:30 p.m.