BROOKSIDE - Trailing Bridgeport 5-2 and still without a base hit in the sixth inning, Shadyside finally broke out the lumber to rally for a 10-5, victory on Niekro Diamond at Bill Jobko Stadium.
With the come-from-behind victory, the Tigers (9-4) most likely leap-frogged the Bulldogs (12-5) for second place in the OVAC Class 2A race. The cut-off date is Wednesday, with the top four teams making the playoffs.
"This one (win) here goes to our four seniors - Jared Brooks, Cody Hudson, Adam Stupak and Chase Kinemond," Shadyside coach Mike Meintel said. "This is their win. Us coaches didn't do anything. They are the ones that kept the players in the game, and kept their minds in the game.
"So, this win belongs to them."
All four had a hand in the rally as Brooks came on to relieve starter Austin Dorris with one out in the second and Bridgeport leading 5-2. All the lefty did was retire 17 of the 22 batters he faced.
"Austin didn't have his legs after competing in the Shadyside Relays over the weekend," Meintel noted, "but Jared did another great job in relief. He had a sore arm at the start of the season, so we're continuing to build his innings up so he'll be ready for the postseason."
Brooks struck out seven and didn't walk a batter in recording a victory. He set down 11 of the first 12 Bulldogs that went to the plate against him.
The foursome referred to by Meintel accounted for eight of the 10 runs scored. They had three hits and four RBI. Stupak, who scored three times despite not getting a base hit, drew a leadoff walk from Bridgeport starter Parker Dyson to start the sixth.
With the count 3-0 on Cody Hudson, Bridgeport coach Ted Downing made a pitching change, although Dyson hadn't given up a base hit.
"He still threw way too many pitches and balls," Downing explained. "He's got to be more consistent in throwing strikes. He throws way too many balls."
Sophomore Bailey McGrath relieved and served up a double off the third baseman's backhanded attempt as Stupak chugged into third. Dorris then lifted a sacrifice fly to center that plated Stupak. Brooks' single up the middle left runners on the corners, and Zach Frizzi's potential double-play bouncer to second was inadvertently thrown to first for one out as Hudson scored to Make it 5-4.
"It all boils down to we've got to make the routine plays," Downing stressed. "We get a routine double-play ball. Routine ... handed to us ... and we don't make the right play. As coaches, all we can do is tell the kids where to throw the ball. We can't throw it for them."
Luke Nardo slapped a 1-2 pitch up the middle that scored Brooks, who made a great slide away from the tag of John Christakis, to knot things at 5-5. Colton Campbell drilled a single to left before Cole Crow sent a sinking liner to right that eluded the diving Bulldogs' right fielder and resulted in a two-run triple. Cole, however, was tagged out in a rundown between third and home to end the inning, but the damage had been done.
Shadyside added three insurance runs in the seventh as Dorris singled in one; Brooks' sacrifice fly got another in; and Frizzi's groundout plated a third.
"They (Shadyside) didn't have a hit for five innings and we quit hitting after the second," Downing noted. "When things go bad for us, they really go bad."
After Shadyside scored a pair of unearned runs in the top of the first, Bridgeport answered with two in its half of the inning and tacked on three more in the second.
Dyson helped his own cause with a two-run, two-out single to right-center in the first, while Jonathan Kreiter singled home two runs in the second. Cody Reed's RBI single made it 5-2 and sent Dorris behind the plate in favor of Brooks.
Bridgeport's QJ Williams was the lone player to record a multi-hit game as he went 4-for-4 with three singles and a triple.