Flyers rally for walk-off win over Titans

Published 9:27 pm Wednesday, April 26, 2023

By Jim Walker

Somewhere Pete Rose is smiling.

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Mark Hodges did his own version of “Charlie Hustle” as he beat out an infield hit to drive in the winning run as the St. Joseph Flyers edged the Portsmouth Notre Dame Titans 8-7 in a pivotal Southern Ohio Conference game on Wednesday.

The Flyers are now 11-3 overall and 10-2 in the SOC, one game behind the Titans. Notre Dame slips to 10-4 and 8-1 in the SOC.

The Flyers trailed 7-5 after the Titans got a run in the top of the seventh.

Luke Cassidy got a one-out single, stole second and scored on a hit by Reagan Lester.

But the Flyers rallied in the bottom of the inning for 3 runs to get the win.

Kai Coleman led off with a base hit and Brady “Quinn” Medinger followed with a hit. After a fly out, Drew Brown reached on an error and both runners scored.

Brown stole third base on an 0-2 pitch that was a ball. Hodges fouled off 2 more pitches before beating out the infield hit.

“The first pitch was really low but it was a strike. I was thinking I’m going to swing at pertty much anything. The pitch I hit was a curveball that came inside and might have been called a ball but I wasn’t going to take a chance. I’ve got to swing at this,” said Hodges.

“I got it off the handle and it just went into the perfect spot and they weren’t going to get it in time to throw Drew out at home and I was able to get to first.”

“Hodges had the at-bat of the year. He fouled off two or three pitches and then he hit a ground ball to second and beat it out,” said Flyers’ coach Greg Bryant.

Brown got the win with the complete game in his first start of the season coming off an injury. He gave up 11 hits, 5 earned runs, struck out 4 and walked one.

Alex Cassidy took the loss as he went 6 innings before leaving when he reached the 121 pitch count limit. He gave up 8 hits, 7 runs of which 5 were earned, struck out 9 and walked 4.

Notre Dame jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning.

Dylan Seison led off the game with a base hit and scored on a triple by Myles Phillips. Luke Cassidy singled to score Phillips.

Alex Cassidy’s fly ball was misplayed to put runners on the corners. Alex Cassidy stole second and Brody Coleman delivered a 2-out double to drive in both runners.

The Flyers got 2 runs in the second when Brown doubled, Jake Stephens reached on an error, Wesley Neal walked to load the bases, Matthew Heighton walked to force in a run and Landon Rowe singled for an RBI.

“When they went up 4-0 in the first inning, you start wondering how your guys are going to respond. They came back with two in the second and could have had more. I knew then that they were going to keep battling,” said Bryant.

St. Joseph scored 3 times in the third to take the lead.

Medinger and Evan Balestra got one-out singles and Brown drilled a triple to tie the game. Brown then stole home to put the Flyers ahead.

Notre Dame regained the lead with 2 runs in the fifth inning.

Seison led off with a single and scored on a double by Phillips. Luke Cassidy followed with a base hit to left as Phillips scored.

Brown then got 2 ground outs and a fly out to end the inning with no more damage and set up the exciting seventh inning climax.

“This one was really big,” said Hodges about the win. “We were able to pull it out tonight and have at shot at tying for the title.”

Brown led the Flyers at the plate as he went 2-4 with a double, triple and 2 RBI. Medinger was 2-4, Rowe 1-3 with an RBI, Stephens 1-3, Hodges 1-4 with an RBI and Balestra 1-4.

Luke Cassidy was 3-4 with 2 RBI, Phillips 2-4 with a double, triple and 2 RBI, Seison 2-4 and Coleman 1-2 with 2 RBI to pace the Titans.

Notre Dame 400 020 1 = 7 11 2

St. Joseph 023 000 3 = 8 9 1

Alex Cassidy, Reagan Lester (7) and Luke Cassidy. Drew Brown and Jake Stephens. W-Brown (IP-7.0, H-11, R-7, ER-5, K-5, BB-1). L-Cassidy (IP-6.0, H-8, R-7, ER-5, K-9, BB-4). Lester (IP-0.1, H-1, R-1, ER-0, K-0, BB-0). Hitting-PND: Dylan Seison 2-4, Myles Phillips 2-4 2B 3B 2-RBI, Luke Cassidy 3-4 2-RBI, Reagan Lester 1-4 RBI, Ethan Kingrey 1-4, Brody Coleman 1-2 2-RBI, Eugene Collins 1-3; St. Joseph: Kai Coleman 1-4, Brady Medinger 2-4, Evan Balestra 1-4, Drew Brown 2-4 2B 3B 2-RBI, Mark Hodges 1-4 RBI, Jake Stephens 1-3, Landon Rowe 1-3 RBI.