Fighting back twice in the late innings, Father Ryan finally beat rival MBA in a game that seemed to have no ending.
In a contest which started chilly and overcast, then became rainy and ended with sunshine, Ryan finally secured a 16-13 victory over the host Big Red Monday afternoon which kept the Irish in the thick of the DII Region race.
The win kept Ryan tied atop the race. The Irish and BGA are both 10-3, with two games to go for each. BGA kept pace by beating Ensworth 9-1 as David Isaacs (7-1) pitched a three-hitter, striking out 15 and walking none Monday night. MBA fell to 8-5.
Trailing 5-1 entering the sixth inning, Ryan (19-7) erupted for six runs, capped by a grand slam homer to right-center by winning pitcher Justin Guidry, giving the Irish a 7-5 lead.
But no lead was safe in this game.
MBA roared back for five in its half of the sixth, capped by a two-run double by Frank Adelman, for a 10-7 Big Red lead.
Only three outs from a disappointing loss, Ryan again struck back with a vengeance, pouring across nine runs in a wild seventh inning.
The burst was highlighted by two-run doubles by Cole Gobbell and Drew Brown and a two-run homer by Joe Suel, putting Ryan ahead for good, 13-10. No. 9 batter Troy McPhail capped the big frame with a three-run triple as Ryan scored 15 runs the last two innings off two MBA relievers.
Ryan batted around twice, sending ten men up in the sixth and 12 more in the seventh.
“We just believed in ourselves, and we never gave up,’’ said the 6-4 Guidry, who picked up the win to go 7-1. “As far as we’re concerned the scoreboard says 0-0 and we’re right in it. We were down 10-7 that last inning, and no one thought we were out of it.’’
The left-handed Guidry also had a perfect day at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a double to go with his grand slam homer, and three walks.
“I just got a pitch that I could hit and got enough on it to get it out,’’ said Guidry, who has signed with MTSU, where he expects to play outfield, first base and pitcher.
Seul came in for Guidry to start the seventh and, although allowing two runs, picked up his second save to finally close out the 2-hour, 40-minute marathon. He also reached base four of his five at bats.
About his homer, Seul said, “I hit a 1-1 fastball, and got all of it. I was a little shaky that last inning of relief. But our guys all came through with the bats, and we never gave up.’’
MBA (16-9) used two Ryan errors to go up 1-0 in the second, then unleashed a four-run third on four straight RBI hits by Tee Stumb, lefty pitcher Johnny Michu, Andy McLaughlin and Adelman, who finished with four RBIs.
“That’s several times recently we’ve come back like that,’’ said Ryan coach Mike Mascari. “We were trailing late last Friday against Ensworth and came back to win in the eighth inning, and we had a big seventh inning to rally past JPII. This team has a lot of fight about them.’’
Adelman had three hits for MBA, and second baseman Jon Eisen, who is headed to Columbia to play baseball, and Stumb had two each, and Eisen stole two bases.
Moss-Oliver finalists: Finalists for the annual Moss-Oliver awards were announced on Monday. Girls were: Anna Bowers (Ensworth), Logan Miller (CPA) and Rachael Reynolds (Ryan). Boys named were: Joshua Henley (Hunters Lane), Caden Anderson (Nashville Christian School) and Jake Peterson (CPA). The winners will be announced at a luncheon May 7 at Swett’s Restaurant.