The ballgame was knotted at 7-7 in the top of the tenth inning. With the bases loaded and only one out, Chip Bouchard stepped up to the plate looking to be the hero for the Admirals.
Catching all of the DuPage Hounds off-guard, the Admirals pulled a trick out of their sleeve: the suicide squeeze. Executing it to perfection, Bouchard’s bunt down the third base line gave plenty of time for Alec Barnhart to score and give the Admirals (11-30) an 8-7 lead, and ultimately, an 8-7 victory over the DuPage Hounds (26-14).
Tonight’s matchup was unlike any other this season. It was the final game of the regular season for both teams, and although the Hounds had first place within their grasp, they came out sluggish and indifferent about the potential of winning the MCL regular season title.
Rather than designating a starting pitcher, Coach Osborne elected to use six different arms throughout the first six innings of the game. With the game close towards the end, Osborne turned to Drew LaComb for the seventh, eighth, and ninth inning and Nick Martin for the tenth.
Right out of the gate, it was clear that the Admirals wanted it more tonight. After one inning of play, the Admirals led 2-1, but the bats stayed alive for the visiting team.
In the third, Alec Barnhart got involved in a big way. With a runner on first, Barnhart belted a two-run shot off of Nick McKinney that cleared the left field fence. The Admirals would put two more on the board in the third to lead 6-1.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Hounds struck back with some offense of their own. With a runner in scoring position, both Mike Roberson and Trent Carrier were able to single and put a run on the board for the home team, which cut the lead to 6-3.
After five innings of play, the Admirals led the Hounds 7-3, but the Hounds showed some fight in the sixth inning.
The Hounds scored four runs in the sixth frame, all coming with two outs. The scoring began when Connor Kopach singled in Stewart Nelson, and it continued when Drew LaComb tripled in Johannes and Kopach.
Facing a 7-6 deficit, Mike Roberson came through again for the Hounds. With LaComb standing on third, Roberson singled, scoring LaComb, and tying the game at 7-7.
With the game tied, LaComb took the mound looking to hold the score and allow his team to take the lead. Although primarily an infielder, LaComb’s three innings on the mound were quick and relatively smooth.
In the eighth, LaComb produced an inning-ending groundout by Jermaine Terry with runners on first and second. In the ninth, LaComb remained composed and produced two consecutive outs when runners were on second and third.
The Hounds had an opportunity to take the lead in the bottom half of the eighth inning. With two outs, Stewart Nelson stood on third base with Drew LaComb looking to be the home team’s hero, but LaComb would strike out swinging to end the threat.
On came Nick Martin in the tenth inning and that is when the Admirals and Chip Bouchard came up clutch. Martin would earn the loss tonight, and Eric Littler picked up the win for the Admirals, as he threw three scoreless and effective innings.
The loss tonight for the Hounds did not impact the standings in the MCL. With sole possession of second place, the Hounds begin their journey to a title on Tuesday evening against the NWI Oilmen. The game is scheduled to start at 7 PM from the Dog Pound at Benedictine University.
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