Then the weight of the world fell off his shoulders.
Down 8-5 in the bottom of the seventh, the Wildcats rallied, bringing the deficit down to just one run, but they also collected two outs. So with bases loaded, two outs, and two runs sorely needed, who should step to the plate but Robinson.
“He was nervous and shaking,” said manager Jim Burke. “I told him get concentrated, get your feet set, and just hit the ball.”
Robinson sure enough took a swing at a pitch he liked and hit it, and as he rounded first and headed to second, the two runs needed found their way home, and the entire Twin Valley dugout found their way to second to mob Robinson. The Wildcat catcher capped off a come-from-behind, five-run inning, and a huge boost to the Wildcats’ confidence.
Going into the sixth inning, the Wildcats had finally wrestled a 5-4 lead away from the Green Wave, who had led all afternoon. But just when the Green Wave looked washed up, they added four runs against pitcher Dal Nesbitt, who had until that point shut out MSJ in relief of starter Kyle Murdock. With two outs and two men on, the Green Wave knocked a three-run homer out of the park, and added another insurance run to take a three-run lead. But the Wildcats refused to throw in the towel, and they methodically watched their pitches in the seventh to win.
The Wildcats collected five walks in a row, decreasing MSJ’s lead to one by walking in two, followed by Robinson’s big, game-winning swing. “Us coaches have been telling them ‘We’ve had tight losses but you’re going to start winning these games,’” said Burke. “The boys got beaten in the sixth on the field and said ‘We’re going to go back to the plate and see what we can do.’ It’s important to look at pitches and have patience at that moment in the game, and they took five walks.”
Cade Nesbitt would close the game for the Wildcats with 10 pitches in the bottom of the seventh and collect the win, while Colin Lozito led the Wildcats batting, going 2 for 3, scoring twice, and stealing three bases.
The Green Wave was led at the plate by Shane Protivanky, who went 3 for 4 with three runs, and Tyler Billings who went 2 for 3 and scored two runs.
TV 15 Black River 4
Sam Molner picked up his second win of the season, getting out of a first-inning jam, and holding the Black River Presidents to just two earned runs in six innings, while his teammates backed him up with a 10-run buffer in the first two frames.
Molner held the small President squad scoreless over the first three innings while striking out six batters on the afternoon, and scattering six hits. Cade Nesbitt, who has been establishing himself as a closer during the Wildcats’ young season, threw eight pitches to end the game. The Wildcat bats were alive and well, pummeling Black River pitcher Earl Brown with four runs in the first inning and a 10-batter, six-run second. John Shoenberg and Duane Greineder would each score in the fourth for the Presidents.
Kyle Lazelle smacked his first hit of the season for the ‘Cats, while Brett Swanson went 2 for 4 with two runs, and Molner went 2 for 3 with an RBI and two runs as well. The Wildcats struck out only four times and took 11 walks on the afternoon. Molner walked four batters on the day as well.
Poultney 12 TV 1
Twin Valley began their week with two promising wins, one dramatic, and the other dominating. But the tables turned as they looked to bring their record above .500 for the first time this season, as the visiting Poultney Blue Devils took a 12-1 win, and the Wildcats took their fourth loss of the season.
The Blue Devils put three runs up in the first inning, but starting pitcher Dal Nesbitt halted their scoring for the next three innings. Meanwhile, the Wildcat bats were absent the entire afternoon as Blue Devil pitcher Brett Kelly faced only 26 batters. The ‘Cats kept the strikeouts to four, but could only manage four hits as well.
The Wildcats’ defense provided no relief for Nesbitt, as four errors in the fifth inning helped Poultney rack up six more runs, and a 9-0 lead. Twin Valley finally got on the board in the sixth as Nesbitt scored the team’s only run on a single by brother Cade Nesbitt. Twin Valley would strand six runners in the loss.
“You can’t win ball games like this,” said manager Jim Burke. “You have to back your pitcher up.” Burke said that the Twin Valley coaching staff is planning to look at the team’s batting order and field positioning to try to make the team stronger. “ We’d like to finish the first half of the season with a win this Saturday,” said Burke. “What we need to do is focus, figure out how to shore up the infield, and concentrate on our batting.”
Kelly went 2 for 3 with two walks and three runs scored for the Blue Devils, and John Shepperdton went 3 for 4 with two runs.
The Wildcats travel to Black River for a 4:30 pm rematch on Saturday.