When Donnie Perdue of Pusch Ridge hit the ball towards the left-field fence, it looked like his home run would change the momentum in a game where the Lions mostly trailed.
After the ball went over the fence, it was called foul, but the momentum had already begun to change as the Lions rallied for four runs in the sixth to take a 6-3 lead. They would go on to beat Tanque Verde, 7-3.
“I was running down the line watching it,” Perdue said. “But it tailed off foul.”
Perdue would end his at-bat with a walk. Ryan Penny had opened the inning with a popup that the Hawks’ second baseman tried to catch while backing onto the outfield. The ball was dropped, and Penny who was running all the way, hustled into third. Chad Willis followed with his second sacrifice fly to tie the game at three. After Perdue’s walk, with two outs, Mike Doty ripped a double over the center-fielder’s head which rolled to the wall to make it 4-3 in favor of Pusch Ridge.
An infield error, the fourth by the Hawks, set the stage for Luke Haines who doubled in both runners for a 6-3 lead for the Lions.
Perdue pitched all seven innings, allowing three runs, one walk, eight hits, and eight strike outs.
Tanque Verde served all three of their runs in the first, as Perdue got off to a shaky start.
James Santasierre tripled. A ground out brought him in. After a walk, cleanup batter Kody Adams blasted a two-run homer for a 3-1 Hawks’ lead. They loaded the bases with two outs before Perdue reared back and got a strikeout to end the inning.
Tanque Verde had an opportunity to break open the game in the second. Adams came up with runners on first and third. Perdue threw nothing but off-speed stuff to get Adams off-stride. With two strikes, Adams was so befuddled that he whiffed at a pitch over his head to end the threat.
“I got him with the off-speed stuff,” Perdue said. “I knew they were hitting me (early), so I changed location.”
Perdue settled into a groove and retired 16 out of 18 batters.
Was Pusch Ridge coach Mark Frithsen concerned about trailing most of the way?
“Not really,” Frithsen said. “We were hitting the ball hard the whole game. They were just making plays. In the sixth inning it came together, and we started finding the holes.”
The Lions were also aided by four errors made by the Hawks.
The Hawks staged one final rally in their last at-bat in the seventh.
After Perdue retired the first two in the inning, Eric O’Brien and Adams each singled. But he induced a ground ball to shortstop Alan Ramirez for a game-ending force-out.
Santasierre pitched 62/3 innings for Tanque Verde and allowed seven hits, two walks, and two earned runs.
Jake Frithsen had two hits for the Lions, while Willis drove in two runs with sacrifice flies, and Haines batted in three.
Mike Doty also had two hits, including a double. Perdue had a walk and singled home the final run in the seventh.
After defeating St. Gregory 15-5 earlier in the week, the Lions appear to be building momentum.
The Lions lost to Bisbee, 3-2. Pusch Ridge is currently 8-5 and ranked ninth in Division IV play.