Trojans rally to win wild area baseball opener with Spring Garden

Gaylesville’s Jack Sentell follows through on a hit against Spring Garden on Tuesday. Photo by Shannon Fagan.

By Shannon Fagan, WEIS Sports Director

GAYLESVILLE – Gaylesville sophomore second baseman Jack Sentell was already having a good day at the plate against area rival Spring Garden.

It got even better in the bottom of the seventh inning.

The Trojans had just relinquished the lead to the Panthers in the top half of the inning. They were down a run with one out and a runner on. Sentell picked up his third hit of the game on an infield single. Hunter Allmond followed with a single to left that scored Alex Baty with the tying run. Baty had reached earlier in the inning on an error at first.

That brought Bradlee Smith to the plate, with Sentell representing the winning run at second.

Smith struck out swinging, but Sentell got the go-ahead signal from Trojan head coach Kolby Brannon and had taken off for third base.

The Panthers caught Sentell in a rundown, but an errant throw squirted past third and into the Panther dugout fence. By rule, the runner is awarded an extra base, which sent Sentell home to give the Trojans a wild 7-6 victory.

“It was just an unreal moment right there,” said Sentell, who finished the game going 3-for 3 with a walk and two runs. “I knew they were going to throw it down so I got halfway (to third). As soon as they threw it down, I stole third.”

And then Sentell trotted home for the game-winning run.

“We’d been real aggressive. We had two strikes on the batter, so why not try something on the bases?,” Brannon said. “I gave him what (sign) he needed to know to take that chance. He did it and we got lucky. They had a mistake there in a big situation.

“It was a wild one, but it’s always good to start area with a win.”

As Brannon said, it was a wild game.

The Trojans (10-2) built a 4-1 lead after three innings before Spring Garden (5-5) cut it to a run with two runs in the top of the fourth. Hunter Parris led off with a single to left off Trojan starting pitcher Alex Baty. Jake Welsh followed with a double to center to score Parris, then Joel Hunter singled to right to score Welsh to make it a 4-3 game.

It stayed that way until the bottom of the sixth. The Trojans scored an unearned run off Panther reliever Clayton Sadler, giving Gaylesville a 5-3 advantage.

Down to their last at-bat, the Panthers rallied with three runs in the top of the seventh to take a 6-5 lead.

Baty loaded the bases by allowing a single to left to Sadler, then walked Zane Edwards and Hayes Garmon.

Brannon lifted Baty in favor of reliever Hunter Allmond. Allmond retired Parris on a pop out to center, but a run scored to make it a 5-4 game. Allmond then hit Welsh with a pitch to load the bases for Hunter.

Hunter popped out to center to bring home the tying run and leadoff batter Chapel Pope to the plate. Pope reached on an error at third to bring home the go-ahead run for the Panthers.

After hitting Connor Bates with a pitch, Allmond retired the side by getting John Welsh to strike out.

Momentum had shifted to Spring Garden, but that didn’t faze the Trojans.

Collin Hendon led off with a bloop shot to right field, but the Panthers’ John Welsh made a diving catch for the first out of the inning.

Baty then reached on an error at first, followed by Sentell’s infield single. Allmond then singled to left to score Baty and put Sentell at second for the game-winning run.

“We haven’t had too many close games, but we were battle tested all year during basketball and these boys have just kept responding,” Brannon said. “When moments get tough they just keep responding. They fell behind in the last inning and didn’t give up. They kept fighting and made something crazy happen there to end it.”

Allmond finished with a pair of hits, including a double with three RBIs. Hendon, Braden Sharp and Karrson Ray had the other Trojan hits. Sharp scored a run and Ray drove in one.

Kyler Bradley walked and scored a run. Kuper Bradley scored a run and drove in another.

Allmond picked up the win in relief of Baty. Baty worked six innings and gave up four earned runs on six hits with six walks and seven strikeouts.

Sadler took the loss in relief of Garmon. Garmon tossed three innings and allowed two earned runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Sadler worked 3 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on three hits with no walks and three strikeouts.

Jake Welsh led the Panthers at the plate by going 2-for-3 with a double, a run and a RBI.

“We didn’t show up to play and they did,” Spring Garden coach Cole Murphy said. “We missed signs, screwed up base running, made errors, didn’t throw strikes, didn’t swing at good pitches, didn’t make plays when we needed to. Everything all around was just terrible baseball for us.

“(In the seventh) Ground ball between our legs, ground ball between our legs, soft ground ball we bobble, and running a player to the next bag instead of setting our feet and throwing and getting the out, then throwing the ball in the dugout. That was just bad. It wasn’t good baseball at all. That’s not who we are and that’s not what we need to be doing. We’ve got a lot to work on (Wednesday).”

The two teams finish their series at Spring Garden on Thursday beginning at 4:30 p.m.

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