Not much was going North Central’s way against Montpelier during a first-round game in the Williams County ACME Baseball Tournament at Sumpter Field in Bryan on Friday.
Before the Eagles were able to rally for a 5-4 victory in extra innings, Montpelier held a 4-0 advantage after four innings, and North Central was repeatedly shooting itself in the foot with three errors up until that point.
The tides began to turn when the Eagles managed to get on the scoreboard during bottom of the fifth with a pair of runs from Zayde VanAuken and Levi Williams to make it a 4-2 game.
Then during the bottom of the seventh, Levi Williams hit a triple with one out in the inning and later scored on a wild pitch to make it a 4-3 game.
Two at-bats later with two outs, Zack Hayes cranked a shot out to deep center field and scored on an inside-the-park home run to tie the game at 4-4, which sent the game to extra innings.
“We had big hits when we needed them,” North Central coach Josh Hicks said. “We needed them early and we didn’t get it. But when we really needed it in the end, we got it. I’m just proud of these kids. They played hard and fought through.”
Montpelier had two men reach during the top of the eighth inning, but failed to score.
North Central’s Ben Turner scored on an Montpelier fielding error with two outs during the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Eagles the victory.
Hayes earned the win on the mound for North Central. He went all eight innings, gave up four runs, struck out seven and walked two.
Montpelier’s Brayden Custer got the start for the Locos and tossed the first seven innings. He surrendered four runs, eight hits and struck out eight North Central batters. Gavin Wurm came on in relief during the bottom of the eighth and earned the loss.
Montpelier coach Tim Sanders said Friday’s loss stings, but he was still proud of his kids’ effort. The Locos were playing with a number of incoming freshmen who were pulled up to the team just prior to the tournament.
Two of said freshmen came up big in the game. Trent Thorp was 1-for-3 with an RBI and Ayden Santos was 3-for-4 with a run scored.
“They did a heck of a job for us, especially after not playing at all with us this year,” Sanders said. “It came down to the wire tonight and it was tough, but we’ll move on and we’ll be alright.”
North Central advances to face Edon at 11 a.m. today at Sumpter Field in Bryan in the next round of the ACME Tournament, while Montpelier falls to the loser’s bracket to face Hilltop at 11 a.m. today in West Unity.