WAVERLY — With only two weeks left in the baseball season, every game matters more than the previous one.
Oak Hill nearly pulled off a season-making victory on Thursday, but Waverly made two more plays late in the game to pull out a 2-1 victory over the Oaks in SOC II action on Wednesday.
“Every team in the SOC II is tough, and this was no different,” Waverly coach Jeff Noble said. “We have a bullseye on our back and we got Oak Hill’s best shot. They’re a good team, and gave us everything we could handle. But we battled, and even though we didn’t play great defense, we had one more run so we’re happy about the win.”
Both Oak Hill’s Flint Barger and Waverly’s Derek Eblin took the hill, and took turns sitting down the other’s lineups.
Although Barger took the loss, he pitched an exceptional game by going the distance and allowing just five hits, two earned runs and struck out five batters.
But the day ultimately belonged to Eblin, who earned the win with a complete game of his own, giving up just three hits and struck out eight batters.
“After that long third inning we had, I felt pretty good in the fourth and got pretty comfortable,” Eblin said. “The more comfortable I got, the more it allowed me just go and do my thing.”
Just as Eblin had his day on the mound, he also had a solid day at the plate and went 2-for-3, including an RBI double in the bottom of the first to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
But he ran into some trouble in the top of fourth. After the leadoff runner reached base on a dropped third strike and advanced to first, Aidan Hall ripped an RBI single to right field that tied the game 1-1.
The Oaks were playing with a momentum that rose to an all-time high after Landon Hines made a diving play in a pickoff situation to record an out.
However, it was short lived as J.T. Barnett, who finished 3-for-3, stepped up and laced an RBI single to left field to push to go-ahead and ultimately, game-winning run across the dish in the bottom of the fifth.
Oak Hill still had one final rally in it in the top of the seventh. After a single from Dylan Venegas, Hines drew a walk to put two runners on with just one out. But the next batter hit a line shot right to Ben Flanders at first base, who turned around to tag the runner out for a double play for the win.
Oak Hill returns to action on Wednesday at Valley and Friday at West to end the regular season.