Gavin Baldwin crushed a three run home run over the left field wall that tied the game in the fourth inning that tied the game at 8 against Harrisburg.
After an incredible comeback against Harrisburg clinched a spot in the IHSA Class 2A Harrisburg Sectional Championship Game, the Hornets lost a heartbreaker in ten innings to the Benton Rangers to end the season. The Hornets finished the season with a record of 30-7.
Nashville 10 Harrisburg 9
Nothing was going right for the Hornets in the first couple innings of Nashville’s Sectional Semi-Final against Harrisburg. The Hornets gave the Bulldogs some free bases and Harrisburg took advantage as they rushed out to an 8-1 lead over the Hornets.
Nashville’s lone run came in the second inning as Bryce Bultman crushed a solo home run.
At the end of the third, the Hornets found themselves in a seven run hole.
Momentum changed in the top of the fourth. After Isaac Crabb reached on an error, Dalton Lambert crushed a pitch to deep right field. Gavin Baldwin tracked the ball back to the wall, jumped up and robbed Lambert of a two-run home run. Baldwin would throw a strike to first to complete the double play. Nashville would get out of the inning, holding Harrisburg scoreless for the first time.
In the bottom half of the fourth, the Hornets offense woke up. Nick Paszkiewicz started the rally with a single. Cameron Parker reached on an error, and Kelton Harre would single to cut into the Harrisburg lead. Trailing 8-2 the Hornets were not done.
Carson Parker would drive in two more runs with a single, and Jacob Woodrome would drive in another with a double. Then Baldwin came up with two runners on base. After Baldwin robbed a home run in the top half of the inning, he would tie the game with a three-run shot of his own to deep left field.
Baldwin talked about making the play after the game. “That was pretty fun. I have never robbed a home run before, and that was probably one of my most clutch hits ever.”
Harrisburg finally stopped the bleeding as Bultman lined out to end the frame.
The game would not be tied for long. Harrisburg would load the bases with one out in the inning, and would take the lead on a single by Will Gibbs.
The Hornets got a break during the next at bat, as a wild pitch would ricochet off the back stop allowing Bultman to tag Ben Brombaugh out at the plate for the second out of the inning. Crabb would groundout to end the Bulldogs’ threat.
Harrisburg would continue to lead 9-8 until the bottom of the sixth. Carson Parker would triple with one out, and score on a single by Cole Malawy. Malawy would move to second on an error and move to third after back to back walks. Malawy would then race home on a wild pitch to give the Hornets the lead.
In the seventh, Baldwin would pitch around a lead off walk to close out the game, sending the Hornets to the Sectional Championship game.
After the game, Hornets coach Chad Malawy talked about getting down early. “Patrick Combs wasn’t very sharp early and it put us in a hole, and then we didn’t make some plays with two outs. We had a two-out error that led to four runs, put us really behind the eight ball. We had another two out error that put a runner on with two outs and I think they got a big blow to get two more runs.”
Patrick Combs started the game on the mound, but only pitched an inning and a third. Combs gave up two hits, three earned runs, walked three batters and struck out one batter. Bultman came in in relief and pitched the next three and two thirds innings. Bultman gave up six hits in the game. Bultman gave up six runs, but only three were earned. Bultman walked three batters and struck out one. Baldwin pitched the final two innings to get the win. Baldwin gave up just one hit, walked two and struck out one batter.
Offensively, Baldwin had the big hit, a three run home run that tied the game in the fourth. It was Baldwin’s only hit of the game. Carson Parker notched three hits at the top of the lineup, scored two runs, and drove in two. Cole Malawy finished 2-4 with a run scored and a RBI. Paszkiewicz also finished with two hits in the contest and scored a run. Bultman walked, singled, scored a run, and drove in a run in the win. Harre and Woodrome each finished with a hit, a run scored, and a run driven in. Cameron Parker and Todd Jahnke each scored a run for the Hornets.
Benton 3 Nashville 2 (10 Innings)
A nail biter throughout, two close calls ended the Hornets season in the Sectional Championship game. The two teams battled to a stalemate through nine innings of play, but Benton came through in the tenth to with a walk off single to end the Hornets season.
After the Hornets went quietly in the top of the first, Benton struck first in the bottom of the inning. With a runner on second and two outs, the Rangers got a close call to go their way. A high throw pulled Bultman off the bag at first, Bultman went down to tag the runner, but the runner was called safe. The next batter would drive in the first run of the game with a double to give Benton a 1-0 lead.
Benton would hold onto the lead until the third. Harre would single to lead off the top of the third. Tanner Bergmann would bunt Harre to second, and Carson Parker would reach on an error. Malawy would then tie the game with an RBI groundout.
The pitchers would trade zeroes until the top of the sixth when the Hornets would strike again. Bultman walked with one out, and moved to second on a single by Cameron Parker. Harre would then walk to load the bases, and Bergmann would drive in a run with a bases loaded walk to give the Hornets the lead.
Benton would be down to their final three outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Gehrig Wynn would single to lead off the frame. Wynn would move to second on a groundout to right field where Baldwin would throw out Brady Gischer from the outfield grass.
Baldwin would then come into pitch. As Baldwin faced his first batter of the game, another close call went the way of the Rangers. A close pick-off play at second base gave the Rangers new life. Wynn would come around to score on a single by Hamilton Page to tie the game. After Benton would load the bases, Page would be thrown out trying to steal home. The threat would end on a strikeout by Ian McMahon.
The teams would go to extra innings where both team would have chances to win the game. Nashville stranded a runner on third in the eighth, and strand the bases loaded in the ninth. In the tenth the Hornets had the first two runners on, but could not capitalize.
Benton would get a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the tenth, and would win the game on a single by Tyler Butler to advance to the Super-Sectional.
Benton would lose the Super-Sectional to Teutopolis.
After the game, Coach Malawy talked about the close calls. “There was a lot of calls that go either way, and if they go the Hornets way, the Hornets are playing in the Super-Sectional.”
Woodrome started the game for the Hornets and was outstanding. Woodrome pitched 6.1 innings on the mound. Woodrome gave up eight hits, and two earned runs. Woodrome walked two and struck out five. Baldwin pitched the final three innings and picked up the loss. Baldwin gave up two hits, and one earned run. Baldwin walked four and struck out one.
Nashville managed just seven hits in the contest. Three of the hits came off the bat of Cameron Parker. Parker finished the game 3-5 with one of this hits being a triple. Cole Malawy finished 1-4, with a walk and a RBI. Tanner Bergmann drove in a run with a bases loaded walk. Harre singled, walked, and scored a run for the Hornets. Bultman walked three times and scored a run in the lossCarson Parker and Paszkiewicz each singled in the game.
The Hornets ended the season with a record of 30-7.