By Josh Belanger
Austin Gauthier (Hofstra) delivered a game-winning, walk-off base hit in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Night Owls a 9-8 victory over the Bunt Cakes yesterday at Waters Field.
Reliever Jarrod Schmitz (Marymount) sent the game to extra innings with a strikeout after coming on for the Night Owls with the game tied and two outs in the seventh. In the eighth, both teams would place runners in scoring position to start the inning. Schmitz proceeded with two more strikeouts to set the table for the Night Owls win in the bottom half.
Tyler Gauthier (undecided) started on the mound for the Night Owls and allowed three runs on five hits over three innings. Randy Prosperi (William & Mary) came on in the fourth after the Night Owls took a 4-3 lead and tossed two scoreless innings. The Night Owls extended their lead with four runs in the fifth on two-run homers from Aiden Tierney (Longwood) and Garrett Riley (Potomac State).
The combination of Matt Thomas (William & Mary), Lucas Donlon (Virginia Tech) and Rob Weissheier (Hofstra) have done serious damage against league pitching all season long, batting a combined .440 with 12 home runs and 52 RBI. Last night, the Bunt Cakes held the mighty trio to just one hit, but the Night Owls found a way to manufacture runs early and lean on some different players for production late.
“You are not always going to hit the ball out of the ballpark,” Night Owls manager Sal Colangelo said. “Tonight we weren’t hitting the ball out of the ballpark and we had to really gear down and execute and we did and it went our way.”
Trailing 8-3 heading into the sixth inning, the Bunt Cakes rallied for five runs against Prosperi, who entered the game leading the league in WHIP. Jay Cassidy (Christopher Newport) drove in a run on a double while Malik Kabra (William & Mary) and Fitz Halloran (Lynchburg) each had an RBI in the sixth. In the seventh, Nathan Cmeyla (Dartmouth) hit a clutch, two-run home run off the scoreboard in left field to tie the game at eight.
Cmeyla led the way offensively for the Bunt Cakes with a 3-for-3 effort and three RBI. Cassidy, Bobby Lietzel (Marymount) and Alex Lemery (Marymount) also each had multiple hits as the Bunt Cakes out-hit the opposition 12-to-10 but conversely allowed 13 free passes on walks and hit-by-pitches.
The Night Owls (12-2) will complete their suspended game from Tuesday against the Yard Dogs tonight at Waters Field while the Bunt Cakes (7-7) prepare for a doubleheader against the Sliders on Saturday.
In other league action...the Rough Riders (6-7-1) crushed the Chili Dogs (4-10), 12-2, behind a three-run home run from Colin Troilo (Eastern Mennonite) and a pair of RBI from Brendan Albrittain (Radford). O’Kelly McWilliams (Wofford) earned the win after allowing one run on two hits over three innings. Albrittain and Ethan Marotske (Lynchburg) each tossed a scoreless inning in relief for the Rough Riders. Brady Harju (James Madison) homered in the loss for the Chili Dogs...Both 7:30 games between the Sliders (8-6) and Yard Dogs (4-9) and Hot Wings (7-6) and Gators (5-8-1) were postponed.
Photo of Austin Gauthier by Josh Belanger