Anthony Wayne wiggled out of a huge jam and then won a crucial Northern Lakes League battle over Northview on Mike Irwin's clutch double with two outs in the last inning.
The dramatic game-winning RBI came right after the Wildcats had loaded the bases with no outs and failed to score in the top of the seventh with the score knotted at 4.
The teams entered yesterday's game with one loss apiece in league play, but AW emerged with a 5-4 win and took control of the chase for the NLL title.
The Generals rallied from an early 4-0 deficit and improved to 6-1. Northview got all four runs on two home runs, but fell to 7-2. Every other team in the NLL has at least three losses.
In the bottom of the seventh, AW junior Cody Stidham singled with two outs. Irwin then came up with what he said was the hit of his life. He doubled to right center field, the ball taking one bounce and hitting the wall,
allowing Stidham to score the winning run from first base.
"I'm fired up," Irwin said. "I saw the ball real well and I hit it on the button. We pulled out the win."
Irwin, who leads the team with a .448 average, said getting out of the jam in the seventh pumped the team full of adrenaline.
"It was a nail biter, no doubt," Anthony Wayne coach Mark Nell said. "Mikey hit a missile. He's been clutch from the get go."
In the seventh, the Wildcats loaded the bases with no outs on a walk, an error and an intentional walk.
Sherman got the first out at home plate on a fielder's choice. Matt Colville then popped out to shallow center field and shortstop Ryan Chipka threw home, catching Zach Strauss in a run down. Northview coach Kevin Danzeisen said he sent Strauss on the play, and Strauss was doubled up to end the inning.
"I thought for sure we would cash in there, but baseball's a funny game," Danzeisen said.
Junior pitcher Nate Sherman gave up six hits, but did not allow a run after the third inning.
"We had some chances early, in the middle and late. But we couldn't cash in," Danzeisen said. "I tip my cap to them. But baseball's a marathon. There's still a lot of baseball to be played."
Northview pitcher Brian Koehl hit a three-run home run and gave up eight hits.
Colville, who leads Northview with a .468 average, smacked a solo home run to dead center field to lead off the second inning. Colville's fourth homer of the season traveled about 375 feet and made it 1-0. Northview then jumped out to a 4-0 lead on Koehl's three-run shot with two outs in the third inning.
Stidham singled and scored on a fielder's choice to make it 4-1 in the fourth inning. AW tied it with four consecutive singles in the sixth inning. Irwin, Chipka and Sherman all singled and scored to tie it at 4.
It was the second time AW, the defending NLL champ, beat Northview this season.
"This was a big win," Nell said. "They have a great team. They may be the best hitting team in northwest Ohio."
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