Bombers Work Through Early Deficit to Win at Home

Bombers Work Through Early Deficit to Win at Home

The Bombers usual home dominance has not been as strong with this year’s squad, but last night’s 6-5 hard-fought triumph over the Hopkinsville Hoppers may be a big part of turning that around.

Early on, it didn’t look promising. Consider that the Bombers were only 1-6 at League Stadium thus far on the young season. Add in the fact that last night’s opponent, the Hoptown Hoppers, are in their customary position atop the OVL Western Division. Mix in the fact that the Bomber starting pitcher, Evan Hall (Transylvania U.), was only able to pitch one inning, forcing the bullpen to work overtime. All in all, it was a mixture of factors that did not portend well for the evening.

It almost got out of hand early on. The Hoppers scored in 2 of the first 3 innings. But the Bombers were able to hold them to a single run on each occasion. It could have been much worse. The visitors stranded 8 baserunners in those first three frames, a pattern that would continue throughout the contest.

But time after time, the Bombers relievers came through with a big strikeout, or the fielders made the needed clutch play to snuff out one Hopper rally after another.

Down 2-0 early, the Bombers got one run back in the bottom of the third. Cody Bridges (Ky Wesleyan) led off with a single, stole second, and scored on a Nick Gonzalez (New Mexico St) hit.

A big 4-run fifth-inning rally put the Bombers up 5-2. After receiving a couple of walks to set the table, Gonzalez, Tanner Craig (U of Evansville), and Jake Lewis (E. Kentucky) all came through with RBI singles.

But the lead was short-lived. The Hoppers came right back and tied the game with three runs in the top of the sixth against a tiring Luke Fitton (Olney Central) who had battled the offensive-minded Hoppers for five innings.

The score held at 5-all with Colton Easterwood (U. of the Cumberlands) pitching 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

The Hopper offense came into the game averaging over 8 runs per game. The Bombers were never able to retire them in order in a single inning. In fact, there was only one inning where the Hoppers didn’t advance at least one runner into scoring position, usually more than one.

Threats and rallies are good. Runs are better. The Bombers clutch pitching and defense ultimately stranded 18 Hoppers on the bases. In a game that could have easily gotten out of hand, the Bombers showed the determination to concentrate on one batter and one inning at a time, shutting down rally after rally.

Still tied at five-all when the Bombers came to bat in the bottom of the 8th, Nolan Ramsey (U. Alabama – Huntsville) got a one-out pinch-hit single. Cooper Trinkle (U. of Evansville) followed with a double down the left-field line to bring home Ramsey and put the Bombers back on top, 6-5.

The Hopper 9th was a microcosm of the game. Jack Anderson (Illinois St) came in with the save on the line. He walked the first batter. The next batter tried to sacrifice him into scoring position, but a throwing error put Hoptown runners on 2ndand 3rd with nobody out. The Bomber one-run advantage suddenly didn’t look as large, particularly with the heart of the Hopper lineup coming up.

But Anderson fanned the #3 hitter. The cleanup hitter popped out, and another strikeout ended the game.

Easterwood gets the win (1-0). Anderson collects the save (1).

Gonzalez went 3-for-4 to raise his average to .458. Craig added a pair of hits, and Trinkle doubled to lead the Bomber offense.

The Bombers have now won 6 of their last 8 games. They are off tonight. They will be home on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday this week. All games are at League Stadium with first pitch at 7 PM.

Get the full game stats from Game Changer here.