ELYRIA – Elyria Post 12 needed every one of the nine at-bats it had in the ninth inning to forge a 10-9 come-from-behind win over Avon Lake Post 211 on Tuesday night at George Day Field.
Trailing 9-5 heading into the bottom of the ninth, Post 12 (6-6) delivered some timely hitting, capped off by John Pulito’s game-winning two-run, two-out, bases-loaded single through the hole at shortstop.
“I love those situations,” Pulito said. “We battled. All night, my teammates battled. To be in that situation, to bring us through, that was good. We’re fighters, man. We’ll come out and we’ll fight all the way to the end of the game. We’re not going to quit.”
“He’s the best hitter in the county,” Post 12 manager Brad Chenoweth said of Pulito. “I walked over to my runner at third base and said, ‘I’ve got a good feeling about this one.’ I knew he was going to get a hit. He’s been clutch for us so far this year. He’s just pounded the ball.”
Pulito, who plans on walking onto the baseball team at the University of Arizona, faced the fourth Post 211 pitcher of the inning and worked the count full before lining his single into left field. The clutch hit drove in Andrew Smith and Deke Monk with the tying and winning runs.
Smith had singled home a run earlier in the inning and Monk walked. Justin Kidd got an RBI the painful way when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the ninth.
“They got it done in the end,” Chenoweth said. “We struggled early, didn’t hit the ball real well, gave up a couple big hits and got behind, but they never gave up. That’s one thing about this team, they’ve got great chemistry and they stay together and pull together.”
Early in the game, Post 211 was hitting the ball well.
After a pop-out to start the game, Ryan Rodgers and Connor Delong reached based with singles. Following Mason Wisner’s foul-out to first base, Luke Ackerman crushed a three-run home run over the wall in left-center field. Post 12′s John Willis had Ackerman down 0-2 before the home run.
Delong and Ackerman came through again, this time in the third inning, as Post 211 scored three runs. Delong started the two-out rally with a solo home run to left-center and after Wisner singled up the middle, Ackerman hit a triple to right-center. Ackerman finished the day with three hits and five RBIs in five trips to the plate.
“Luke’s just been a good hitter all year,” Post 211 manager Mike Dillon said after his team fell to 14-6. “I think he leads the team in average. He’s been hitting the ball hard and found some holes. Chris Delong found some holes and hit one out, too, tonight. Our middle of our batting order has been tough the whole year.”
Despite the loss and having five runners thrown or tagged out on the bases, Post 211 got a solid effort from starting pitcher Aaron Shubert.
Shubert threw 156 pitches over eight-plus innings and struck out seven.
“He pitched a hell of a game,” Dillon said. “We had all the breaks go against us. We had all the situations go against us, but he kept us in the game and kept us where we needed to be to win the game.”