WILLIAMSPORT — Handcuffed on five hits through six innings and down 5-1, it appeared Williamsport’s baseball team was about to see Monday’s MVAL Antietam game go in the loss column.
But the Wildcats came back, clawing their way to a five-run seventh inning and a 6-5 victory over stunned South Hagerstown.
Rebels sophomore Airin Martin — showing no ill effects from being hit by a line drive on the calf muscle last week — took the mound and kept the Wildcats (3-3, 3-2) at bay while his teammates pecked away to build the lead — until the end.
Martin allowed a triple to Tyler Byers in the second inning, and Byers scored on a groundout by Ryan Butts.
Martin got help in the sixth inning from his defense when Williamsport’s Brandon Greene thought he doubled to left. South left fielder Sean Przywieczerski caught the ball but acted like he had not, Greene stepped off the base to clean off his uniform and Przywieczerski threw to second to catch Greene off base for the out.
But the seventh inning was another story.
Byers led off with a double, went to third on a single by Butts and scored on a sacrifice fly by Nick Williams to cut South’s lead to 5-2. Martin then issued his first walk of the game to Riley Arnone, and Brandon Toloso followed with a bloop single to right that loaded the bases.
Martin walked Brandon Allen to force in Butts for a 5-3 score, and suddenly Williamsport saw victory in its eyes.
Sauble scored on Greene’s fielder’s choice to whittle the gap to 5-4, with Toloso taking third and Greene at first with one out. Greene, who wasn’t held at first, stole second to put the potential winning run in scoring position.
“That was a coaching mistake,” said South coach Zack Swisher.
Martin uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Toloso to score the tying run with Greene moving to third.
Tyler Nally then chopped a bouncer halfway up the third-base line that could not be fielded as Greene came flying across the plate with the winning run.
“I just could not have started the seventh without Martin, he pitched so well,” said Swisher. “Williamsport didn’t give up. They did what they had to do. There was a small strike zone out there.”
Brandon Colliflower started for Williamsport and gave up one unearned run in both the second and the fourth, but didn’t have his mechanics down, allowing four walks in four innings while striking out only two. He pitched to a pair of batters in the fifth before Byers came in to strike out the side after Przywieczerski doubled in Martin for a 3-1 lead.
South (2-4, 1-3) added two runs in the fifth on two hits and two Williamsport errors — the Wildcats had seven overall.
“We got some walks and took advantage of what was in front of us,” said Wildcats coach David Warrenfeltz. “We haven’t been swinging the bats real well. Byers’ double in the seventh was a big hit.”
In three innings of relief, Byers struck out six without a walk to pick up the win.
Williamsport 6, South Hagerstown 5
South 010 112 0 — 5 7 1
Williamsport 010 000 5 — 6 8 7
Martin and K. Johnson. Colliflower, Byers (5) and Butts. WP — Byers. LP — Martin.