Bayer's bases-loaded walk hands Butler 9-8 walk-off win
Butler shortstop Connor Ollio can't get to the throw as North Allegheny's Ben Surman steals second base Monday, May 1, 2017, at Kelly Automotive Park. Ollio turned a double play in the top of the seventh inning and scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh in the Golden Tornado's 9-8 victory.
STEPHEN DIETZ/ SPECIAL TO THE EAGLE
Ryan Linn had to throw a strike. Alec Bayer never had to look at one.
The combination helped provide Butler with a walk-off 9-8 baseball victory over North Allegheny Monday night at Kelly Automotive Park.
A bases-loaded walk to Bayer with one out in the seventh decided the issue.
The Golden Tornado (10-5, 4-4) won for the seventh time in eight games despite letting a 7-1 lead slip away in the latter innings. Butler has won four of five section games since an 0-3 start and sits in third place in Section 1-6A, a half-game in front of Central Catholic.
The Tornado host Central at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Kelly Automotive Park.
We came up with a strong seventh inning to get this one, Butler coach Todd Erdos said. The kids held together.
Butler scored six runs in the fourth inning to take a 7-1 lead and chase North Allegheny starting pitcher Bobby Brown. Isaiah Lucas snapped the tie with a two-run triple over the right fielder's head. Linn added a two-run double, Jake Slomers an RBI double and Dallas Hays a run-scoring single in the frame.
But the Tigers (10-4, 5-3) weren't done themselves.
A two-run inside-the-park home run to left by Luke Trueman was followed by an RBI double from Alex Mesaros, who later scored on an error. Just like that, it was 7-5.
I made a mistake on that ball, Butler left fielder Bayer said of the homer. I was playing more toward the gap and the kid had a nice opposite-field hit. I miscalculated that play.
Lucas doubled and scored in the fifth to give the Tornado an 8-5 lead, but Butler pitcher Cade Negley threw 92 pitches in the first five frames and did not start the sixth.
Reliever Brandon Fleeger struggled with control in the sixth frame, walking Colin Cain with the bases loaded to force home one run and hitting Mesaros with a pitch to plate another. The tying run scored on a wild pitch.
Linn took over on the mound with the bases loaded, two outs, a 3-1 count on Jack Lehew in an 8-8 game.
I have confidence in all of my pitchers, Erdos said. Ryan was relaxed and poised on the mound. The situation wasn't too big for him.
Linn got Lehew to ground out to third to end the inning.
I was surprised to be going in in that situation, but I was ready, Linn said. I threw a fastball on the outside and he (Lehew) rolled over on it.
The Tigers began the seventh with consecutive singles against Linn, but Ben Surman grounded into a 6-3 double play to end the threat.
Connor Ollio, who started that double play, led off Butler's seventh with a line single to center. Sam Gross bunted him to second and Lucas was intentionally walked. After a wild pitch moved the runners up, Jacob Keene was intentionally walked as well to load the bases.
(Kevin Janosko) usually pounds the strike zone, NA coach Andrew Heck said. He was perfectly comfortable with that situation or I would not have done that.
Janosko threw four consecutive wide pitches to Bayer to end the game.
I was going to make him pitch to me, Bayer said. The pressure was on him in that situation. Fortunately, it worked out in my favor.
Bayer was one of six Butler seniors honored before the game, joining Jefferson Ford, Adam Hohn, Gross, Negley and Hays.
To win like this on Senior Night made it that much more sweet, Bayer said.
The Tigers lost for the fourth time in six games.
This was our second straight walk-off loss, which is tough, but it shows we're right in these games, Heck said. This is the toughest section in Pennsylvania. You're going to win some games, you're going to lose some games.
North Allegheny 001 043 0 8 10 1
Butler 010 610 1 9 11 2
1 out when winning run scored
W: Ryan Linn 1.1IP (0K, 0BB). L: Kevin Janosko 2.2IP (5K, 4BB).
North Allegheny (10-4, 5-3): Luke Trueman HR 2-RBI, Justin Hamm 1B, Bobby Brown 1B RBI, Colin Cain RBI, Alex Mesaros 2B 1B 2-RBI, Andrew Turzai 1B, Caiden Wood 2-1B, Ben Surman 2-1B 3-R
Butler (10-5, 4-4): Jake Slomers 2B RBI, Dallas Hays 1B RBI, Cade Negley 2-1B, Connor Ollio 2-1B 2-R, Isaiah Lucas 3B 2B 2-RBI, Jacob Keene 1B RBI, Alec Bayer 1B 2-RBI, Ryan Linn 2B 2-RBI