COLUMBIA CITY — Fans attending Columbia City baseball’s Senior Night contest against Northeast Hoosier Conference foe Norwell got their money’s worth as far as offense was concerned.
The visiting Knights got almost all their runs in a single outburst, but the Eagles fielded a more consistent offense scoring in five-of-seven innings, including two runs in the bottom of the seventh frame to cap an 11-10 come-from-behind win Tuesday night in Columbia City.
The Knights started the game with the lead-off batter drawing a walk and a double drove in a Norwell run.
With runners on first and third and one out, a fly-ball to right field appeared to have plated the second Knight score, but the runner, Josh VanMeter, failed to tag up on the play and on an appeal was ruled out to end the Norwell at bat.
The Eagles responded in their half of the first with back-to-back doubles by Connor Slavich and Jordan Bickle, with Slavich scoring to knot the score 1-1 at the end of the first inning.
The Columbia City defense held the Knights scoreless for the next three innings.
In the bottom of the third, the Eagles took the lead with three runs.
Norwell threatened to blow the game wide open in the top of the fifth inning, sending 15 batters to the plate and scoring nine times. By the time the at-bat ended, the Knights had taken a 10-4 lead.
The Eagles got one of the runs back in the bottom of the fifth, as designated hitter Connor Slavich drove a Norwell fast ball over the fence in left center for a home run that cut the Norwell lead to 10-5.
Columbia City had a big at-bat of its own in the sixth frame, scoring four times. A double by Gay plated Johnson. A walk issued to Slavich load the bases. A single by Reed drove in both Gay and Slavich to pull the Eagles to within one at 10-9 going into the final inning.
In the seventh, the Eagle defense kept Columbia City within striking range. Two straight shots at third baseman, Bickle were gloved and turned into force-outs at second, to give the Eagles a shot for the win in the bottom of the seventh.
Clark drew a lead-off base on balls, and went to second on a sacrifice by Johnson. A single by Gay scored Clark to tie the score, with Gay going to second when no one covered.
Two batters later, Slavich, who had a hot bat all night, was intentionally walked. Bickle came to the plate and singled driving in Gay with the game-winning score.
The win evens the Eagle record at 11-11 and 2-5 in the NHC heading into Saturday’s home doubleheader against Bishop Dwenger starting at 10 a.m.