Playdown jitters got the best of the Wildcats early in the game. In the bottom of the first, Tyler Russell hit a triple on his first at-bat and scored the Rebels’ first run of the game. Teammate Gabe Pozzi hit a single, scoring Russell, and the Rebels went up 2-0. Wildcats’ starting pitcher George Molner gave up one more run and an error at shortstop cost the Wildcats another run. Molner struck out the next two batters to end the inning, but the damage was done. The Rebels led 4-0 after one.
In the top of the fourth, Ian Murdoch hit a blooper to right field and Ryan Dix made it to first base on an error. That set the stage for Gus Wing, who singled to right and drove in Murdoch. The Wildcats got on the board but they were still down, 4-1.
Then Molner settled down and went into strikeout mode. He fanned 10 Rebel batters, including Russell who got caught looking, and Pozzi, who went down swinging. However, Molner wasn’t finished. In the top of the fifth, Pozzi was taken out for relief pitcher Trevor Howe. Molner cranked the ball to left field for a solo home run shot. The score was 4-2, Rebels. Molner’s teammates mobbed him at home plate. Leland & Gray fans went silent.
But fatigue set in for Molner in the bottom of the fifth. His pitch count was at 96 but he was determined to strike out the top of the order. But then came the final blow. Russell led off with a stand-up double and Marcucci followed him at the plate. Marcucci got the go-ahead from the third-base coach to swing and he belted it over the left field fence for a two-run home run. The Rebels led 6-2, Leland & Gray fans celebrated, and Marcucci’s teammates mobbed him at home plate. The Wildcats made another costly throwing error and three more runs scored, making it 9-2, Rebels.
The Wildcats scored two more runs in the final innings but Marcucci’s home run had already done enough. The Rebels finished the side in the top of the seventh and the final score was 9-4 Rebels.
Pozzi was the winning pitcher and struck out four, Molner was the losing pitcher and struck out 10. The Wildcats’ season ends at 6-10, while Leland & Gray goes on to face 10th-seed Rivendell in the quarterfinals.