PENFIELD TWP. — Just when it seemed like Buckeye’s baseball team had put itself in position to be effectively tied for the Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division lead, everything slipped out of the Bucks’ hands.
Buckeye committed three errors with two outs in the seventh inning, leading to five unearned runs that sent the game to extra innings. Nick Compton’s ninth-inning single scored the winning run as the Wildcats completed an improbable comeback to win 6-5 and clinch at a share of the division title.
“The mark of a man isn’t how he deals with success. It’s how he deals with adversity,” Buckeye coach Mike Wolf said. “This is a quality group of kids, and my challenge to them is handle adversity in a positive way and move forward. I think we will do that.”
Buckeye (17-4, 10-2) took the lead in the first inning when third baseman Freddy Wright singled home Adam Matras, who led off with an infield single.
Bucks starting pitcher Elijah Walker then took over, holding the Wildcats (18-2, 14-0) to four hits over five innings, striking out five and allowing only two runners to reach scoring position.
After allowing the first-inning run, Keystone starter Kyler Yusko was equally dominant, striking out 10 in five innings and working out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth.
The Bucks looked to have the game in the win column after scoring four runs in the seventh inning. Collin Wright led off with a single and scored with Matras on a Jake Case double to deep center field, while Freddy Wright and Rob Banaga each drove in a run to give Buckeye a 5-1 lead.
Reliever Bryan Benedict was one out from earning the save when No. 9 hitter Nathan Prunty hit a two-run home run to get the Wildcats to 5-3. The next five hitters reached base on two singles, two intentional walks and a throwing error.
Compton hit a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the seventh that drove in two runs, and Michael Mileski scored on a fielding error to tie the game 5-5.
“My hat’s off to Keystone. That’s a very good baseball team over there,” Wolf said. “They made plays when they had to make plays, and that was the difference in the game.
“The first time we played these guys, they totally dominated us (7-0 on April 16). I’m proud of how we played today. This team never backs down from a challenge. A couple of things didn’t go our way today, but that’s baseball.”
The Bucks can claim a division share if they win their final four PAC games and Keystone loses to Firelands (13-5, 9-2) and Lutheran West (9-7, 7-6).
Keystone 6, Buckeye 5 (9 inn.)
BUCKEYE 100 004 000 — 5 8 3
KEYSTONE 000 000 501 — 6 7 0
Zero outs when winning run scored. WP — Sean Saterlee 1 inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts. LP — Bryce Layton (4-1) 1