Sam Near and Peyton Tisi clutch up in final inning; Ruben Van Dijk notches save
Orlando, FL – The rain fell steadily on Eagle’s Nest Park on Monday night, but the lead changed hands like a ping pong match, with the iCASE Huskies finishing on top with an 8-6 victory over the Ottawa Chiefs. It was the first game action for iCASE after arriving in Cocoa Beach on Friday, and practising on Saturday and Sunday.
In the top half of the final inning, with the score knotted at five, and the rain beginning to increase, the Chiefs gave up three consecutive walks to Nishu Patel, Mitch McKay and Riley Deline. Sam Near then pulled a grounder into the hole on the right side, and the second baseman threw him out, but not without Patel scoring what turned out to be the game-winning run. With two out and two strikes, Peyton Tisi then smoked a deep opposite field double into the left field corner to plate McKay and Deline to make it 8-5.
Ruben Van Dijk took the mound in the bottom half of the rain-shortened five-inning game, walked the lead-off hitter on four straight balls, but rebounded superbly with a pair of strikeouts, the first on a called third-strike and the second on a swing-and-miss on his sinker. The runner, who had advanced to third, tried to swipe home on a first-pitch passed ball, but iCASE catcher Mitch McKay hustled to the screen and fired to Van Dijt, who applied the tag to end the game.
Dylan Kints was the Huskie’s starter, keeping his team in the game while allowing three runs on three hits. Nisarg Patel took over in the third, also allowing three runs and the game tied after four. McKay made a pair of beautiful throws to punch out a pair of runners attempting steals in the bottom of the fourth.
iCASE opened the scoring in the opening stanza when Riley Deline drew a bases on balls. He was forced out at second on Sam Near’s ground out, but Near promptly stole both second and third, putting him in scoring position for Cam Lynn’s line drive RBI-single to right.
In the third, McKay drove a two-out triple into the left field gap, and Deline followed with an almost identical smash, winding up with a double. Near then scorched a single to right, bringing home Deline. The speedster then stole second, advanced to third on a passed ball, and fled home on a wild pitch to tie the game at four.
Riley Sykes drew a one out walk in the fourth, advanced to second on Ryan Yea’s single, and scored on Macguire Gordon’s base hit to left.
“We definitely can take many positives from tonight’s outing, but the two things that I found the most pleasing was stealing six out of six bases, and plating seven out of our eight runs with two out, because those are back-breakers,” praised iCASE head coach/GM Tom Valcke.
“I thought our pitchers competed well tonight, because Ottawa’s hitters didn’t get cheated for any swings. Even though we gave up a couple of crooked numbers, we managed to get out of a couple of jams that kept them from running away on us.”
iCASE plays a doubleheader Tuesday beginning at 1:00pm at the Cocoa Sports Centre.
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