WILMINGTON — Undaunted by a 12-run deficit, Wilmington beat Goshen 22-21 Wednesday on Landon Flint’s single in the ninth on the WHS diamond.
“I believe in my guys and when you have senior leadership who won’t allow teammates to give up, big things can happen,” WHS manager Austin Newman said. “Most of the game we went into ‘cold’ mode at the plate, which means we take until we get a strike. It changed the way we handled our at-bats, so I knew we would be patient and have a shot. We don’t give up regardless of the score, so I believed in them and we did it.”
The SBAAC American Division slugfest win puts the Hurricane at 5-3 on the year, 3-2 in the conference. Goshen drops to 2-5 overall, 1-4 in the American.
Wilmington trailed 14-2 going to the bottom of the fifth but scored five runs to make things interesting. In the sixth, the Hurricane plated 10 runs to surge into the lead, 17-14. Jake Stephens had two of his four hits in the sixth. Keenan Milliner had a two-run single and Braden Harmeling (six RBI on the day) also had an RBI hit. Brady Tolliver had a key bunt in the inning to keep the rally going.
The Warriors put five runs on the board in the top of the seventh to grab a 19-17 lead and seemed to make the Hurricane heroics all for nought.
Wilmington tied the game thanks to Milliner, Tolliver and Bryson Platt. Tied at 19-19 with Jayden Tackett (four hits, four RBI) at third, Sam Nichols tried to win it with a single to left but a “perfect play” at the plate got Tackett at home and sent the game to extra innings.
After a scoreless eighth inning, Goshen took the lead 21-19 in the ninth. But the Hurricane had one last rally in them.
Platt doubled home Tate Oberlin and Brady Tolliver to make it 21-21. Tackett walked and Nichols singled to load the bases. Newman thought about sending Platt on the Nichols hit but opted to hold the runner.
”I held my runners knowing Flint deserves this moment and I am going to let him swing away and not be aggressive on the bases,” Newman said. “Flint was locked in all day, so he came up big with a smash to left to win it.”
The winning hit by Flint made a winning pitcher of Oberlin, who started and finished the game on the mound for Wilmington.
“I pulled him in the fourth (because) I saw a kid who knew he didn’t have his best start,” said Newman. “But our team picked him up.”
When the runs started going up on the Hurricane side of the scoreboard, Oberlin went back to Newman.
Said Newman, “In the seventh inning, he looked at me and said ‘Coach I know this isn’t how you want to do things, but if you put me back in the game, I will keep us in this game.’”
The young WHS manager responded.
“I trusted him and he came through,” said Newman. “It is never something I want to do (put starting pitcher back in the game after being pulled) but to me you let your kids know ‘I trust you and I want you to have this moment.’
“I hope I never have to do that again in my coaching career but wow what a cool moment. My guys have grit and fight. It’s not (always) going to be perfect or pretty but we won’t give up. Hats off to Goshen. They fought back in the end when they looked to have no momentum but they wanted it just as badly.”
April 12, 2023
@Wilmington High School
Wilmington 22, Goshen 21
(22) WILMINGTON (ab-r-h-rbi) Platt 4-2-2-2 Tackett 5-3-4-4 Stephens 7-3-4-1 Nichols 5-3-3-1 Flint 6-1-3-1 Harmeling 6-2-3-6 Massie 6-2-1-0 Oberlin 3-1-1-0 Milliner 1-2-1-2 Tolliver 3-3-1-1 TOTALS 46-22-23-18
2B: Flint, Massie, Platt 2, Stephens
SB: Tolliver 2, Tackett 2, Stephens, Oberlin, Harmeling
HBP: Platt, Oberlin, Nichols