Aces pull off stunning walk-off comeback win over Hancock County

June 7, 2021 | 12:05 am

Updated June 6, 2021 | 11:44 pm

Gage Johnson | Owensboro Times

Late-game heroics with tension from all sides ended the second round game in utterly insane fashion, with a walk-off from Jamison Wall giving Owensboro Catholic a 7-6 win over Hancock County.

The Hornets were rolling out of the gate, as a walk and a single to right led to runners on the corners with no outs.

A near carbon copy of the single from Kaleb Keown put Hancock County on the board and left runners on the corners with no outs once again.

Keown helped bring in another run by trying to steal second, as the throw wasn’t knocked down allowing the Hornets to jump out to a 2-0 lead.

Owensboro Catholic on the other hand was aggressive in their approach at the plate to no avail. Brock Tindle wasn’t having to throw many pitches through the first three innings and had the Aces chasing often. Hancock County took full advantage of this with a little deja vu baseball in the top of the third.

A leadoff double from Cole Dixon and Drew Lyday’s second single of the day put runners on the corners with no outs once again for Keown.

A few pitches later and Keown left no doubt in anyone’s mind that he’d sent a fastball well over the right-center wall, giving the Hornets a 5-0 lead going into the bottom of the third.

After a scoreless bottom half of the inning, Hancock County added one more to their total to take a 6-0 lead.

Owensboro Catholic made an attempt at a rally in the bottom of the fourth with the crowd behind them, but were only able to notch one run to cut its deficit to 6-1. However, the Aces weren’t done yet.

Back-to-back singles put runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the fifth. Follow that up with a double from Scales and it was a 6-2 game with runners in scoring position and one out.

But Tindle worked out of the jam, giving up just one run on an RBI groundout by Finley Munsey and retiring the side with a pop-out the next at-bat to keep it at 6-3. Bit by bit the Aces had been chipping away, but the bottom of the seventh was something nobody saw coming.

Sam McFarland kicked off the inning with a leadoff triple after the right fielder for the Hornets misread a ball, but Luke Evans raised the stakes following that up with a laser over the left field fence to make it a 6-5 ballgame.

“We started picking up on how he was pitching us,” Evans said. “He started us off with a lot of sliders, so we went up looking first-pitch slider. So it’s just about approach. We made adjustments and took care of business.”

Shortly after, Luke Scales does the same to knot things up at 6-6, queuing absolute chaos from the crowd and on the field.

As Scales touched home after rounding the bases, coaches were being held back by umpires in the middle of the diamond.

Players barked back and forth as well near the Aces dugout, forcing the umpires to also try and handle the situation there.

Eventually things cleared out, but Owensboro Catholic Head Coach Derek Hibbs and Hancock County Head Coach were ejected.

But play resumed momentarily with the Aces roaring. It only increased when Finley Munsey doubled and then an intentional walk gave them first and second with no outs. That would signal the end of Tindle’s day, bringing Dixon to the mound.

A groundout followed by an intentional walk left the bases loaded with one out and Wall capitalized. Swinging at nearly every pitch he saw at the plate, Wall eventually tagged one to deep center field, sending Owensboro Catholic into an uproar and claiming a 7-6 win to make it to the 3rd Region District Championship.

“One thing we talked about right before the seventh inning is the whole entire season for us it’s been the lineup,” Hibbs said. “It hasn’t been one guy, it’s been the lineup. And we went one, two, three right there. Three guys right there stepped up, tied the game and then just kind of rode that momentum on and ended up finishing it.”

Tindle was dominant early on, but as the later innings unfolded it was clear that the aggressive approach the Aces had taken earlier in the game had changed.

This resulted in Tindle throwing around 80 pitches in the final three innings, as opposed to the 30 he’d thrown through the first three innings.

“I think later we kind of really saw that he really wasn’t locating his fastball very well at all,” Hibbs said. “We made him extend counts out and then have to get ahead of us to use that slider. So our guys did a good job working the counts.”

Evans, Scales and Finley Munsey all supplied two hits and two RBIs for the Aces, with Scales notching three hits to lead the team.

Keown was the main culprit offensively for the Hornets, ripping three hits—including a three-run home run—and tallying four RBIs.

With Ohio County’s win over Meade County, Owensboro Catholic will take them on at 7 p.m. in Monday’s 3rd Region Championship.

June 7, 2021 | 12:05 am

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