Baseball comes from behind in 10-9 victory

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Greatly in need of some momentum heading into the district tournament, the varsity baseball team faced the Woodson Cavaliers on May 4 at home. Having lost to Woodson earlier in the season, the Atoms were looking for revenge against their new district rival.

The Atoms quickly established a lead in the bottom of the first inning when, with two outs, senior Robert Potts was hit by a pitch. After stealing second, a bloop single by junior Evan Smith brought him around to score the game’s first run.

After that, both teams remained largely quiet. Though each put a number of runners on base, it was not until the fourth inning that either team scored another run, this time coming from the Cavaliers on a two-run homer off senior starting pitcher Ryan Schubert.

Woodson put another run on the board in the following inning, and though Schubert settled down to record the inning’s final outs, he was removed from the game and replaced by Potts. Potts also struggled, giving up a two-run homer, which put the Atoms down four runs with only two at-bats left in the game.

Rather than fade, however, the Atoms rallied in the bottom of the sixth to score eight runs and go ahead 9 to 5. The whole lineup contributed during the eight run inning, which was highlighted by a two-run double by senior Stephen Marquardt, an RBI double by sophomore Tyler Schwartz and a two-run triple by Potts.

“I started the fire in the sixth inning,” said Marquardt, who scored the game-tying run in the sixth inning. “A two-RBI double—that’s how I got the rally going.”

Having taken the lead, Potts returned to the mound hoping to shut down the dangerous Woodson team, but after recording a strikeout, allowed the next three runners to reach base. Senior Kevin Fields then took over with the bases loaded and quickly induced a ground ball that was easily fielded and thrown to second base for the inning’s second out.

The next batter hit a single, and after a wild pitch, runners were put on second and third with two outs. Fields continued to battle, and when the batter hit a soft groundball along the first base line, the game seemed over for the Cavaliers. Fields cut off the ball and tossed it to junior first baseman Jordy Cowles, who appeared to have caught it until it was knocked away by the runner. The ball then rolled to the fence, allowing the other two base runners to score and tie the game.

This questionable call appeared to involve runner’s interference and could have cost the Atoms the game, had they not scored in the bottom of the seventh inning. Cowles began the inning by reaching base on a dropped third strike, but after being replaced by junior Earvin Rivas, the next two batters failed to advance him. Next to bat was junior Greg Nielsen, who after falling behind in the count continued to foul off pitches, allowing Rivas to steal second. Nielsen then hit a hard groundball to the second baseman, who misplayed the grounder, allowing Rivas to score the game’s winning run.

Head coach Ron Abrigo seemed pleased with his team’s performance, but recognized that some work is still needed before the start of the district tournament. “[We’re looking for] consistency. We need our pitchers to throw lots of strikes,” he said. “If they do that, I think we can compete with just about anybody.”

Schubert had a similar outlook on the team’s performance. “There are some things we can improve on, but overall it was a good game,” he replied. “I think that when our pitching comes around we’re going to be really hard to beat.”

With only one week left in the regular season, the Atoms will continue to work hard to finish on a high note and prepare themselves for the district tournament.