Berkshire’s senior baseball players apparently are a dramatic bunch.
On Thursday, senior Brian Brent delivered the game-winning hit in the bottom of the seventh inning to earn a season sweep of rival Cardinal and on Friday, it was classmate Evan McDermott responsible for the walk-off hit in a 5-4 Senior Night win over visiting Beachwood.
“It’s always nice to get a win for the seniors on Senior Day,” said Berkshire coach Nick Burzanko. “To win it the way we did, after winning yesterday in such fashion, was, for sure, a bit more special. These games are very exciting to be a part of and the guys respond well in those situations.”
Beachwood did its best to spoil the Badgers’ Senior Night festivities.
The Bison scored single runs in the first and second innings and then added two more to take a 4-0 lead in the third.
Brent started the game for the Badgers and allowed three earned runs on five hits and struck out three.
“When we went down 4-0, our senior leaders stepped in and spoke up,” Burzanko said. “Guys settled in and just started to play one pitch at a time and good things started to happen.”
Blake Jenkins took over on the hill and shut down the Bison, which gave the Badgers the chance to rally from behind.
Jenkins, who made a diving catch in the outfield to prevent at least one run in Thursday’s win, set the Bison down in order in three of the four innings he pitched and he allowed just one base runner.
“Blake is a leader in every aspect of the term,” Burzanko said. “He came out and simply threw strikes and let his defense make plays behind him. He made a few plays off the mound himself as well. He kept guys guessing and you’re at an advantage when you’re throwing everything for a strike.”
The Badgers scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth to pull to within 4-3.
J.T. Bergmeier started the rally with a two-out single. He stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Jenkins drew a walk and senior Jake Brown singled home Bergmeier. Brown stole second and Brent doubled home a pair of runs.
Jenkins hit a one-out single in the sixth and scored the game-tying run on three wild pitches.
Sophomore Jack Jacobs opened the Berkshire single but a strikeout and a groundout left the Badgers with just one out to score the winning run from third base.
McDermott entered the batter’s box 0-for-3 on the day but, as a senior, he’s been in similar situations in the past.
With the count at 3-1, McDermott ripped a line drive to left field to end the game.
“After a slow start, everyone on the bench played a huge role in getting everyone playing back into the groove,” McDermott said. “The hype those players bring is unreal. Getting a win is always exciting. Walking off on Senior Night is a feeling that can’t be beat. Having the whole team run out of the dugout to celebrate was crazy.”
Brown and Chris Groudle both finished the game with three hits. Jenkins earned the pitching victory after throwing four scoreless innings.
Berkshire improved to 15-6 overall and now will take a seven-game winning streak into next week’s winner-take-all series against Kirtland.
The Badgers have to beat the Hornets twice to win the Chagrin Valley Conference Valley Division championship.
“We have to play as close to perfect as possible to win both of those games,” McDermott said. “Our pitchers have been throwing very well. All we need is to get the bats back alive.”