Despite giving up two runs in the top of the seventh inning, Watson Chapel held on for a 3-2 victory over Hope on Tuesday afternoon at Wildcat Stadium.
“We got to learn how to finish games,” Watson Chapel assistant coach Jared Dutton said. “We didn’t finish strong like we needed to.”
Trailing 3-0 in the top of the seventh, Hope’s Marc Martin reached on a poor throw by Chapel’s Landen Colson. His throw sailed over the first baseman’s head and allowed Martin to reach second.
Nathan Stubber followed with a single to put runners at the corners for Hope with no outs. During Stubber’s attempted steal of second, Colson committed his second error of the inning when his throw sailed into the outfield.
It allowed Martin to score, cutting the deficit to 3-1 with nobody out.
Dustin Dougan hit an RBI single to plate Stubber and make the score 3-2.
“We had a couple errors that led to a couple runs,” Dutton said. “You give them a chance late, and they think they can win.
“Anything can happen. We were lucky to get a couple of breaks there at the end and able to finish it off.”
After a one-out single by Alex Coronado to put runners on first and second, Fred Sharp hit a single but Dougan was thrown out at home by Chapel’s Chris Williams to prevent the tying run.
“Chris Williams made a good throw and Colson – who had just made an error – came back and made a good catch and tag on the runner,” Dutton said.
Watson Chapel (3-3, 1-0 5A South) junior Justin Pierce struck out the final batter to end the inning and salvage the win.
“Pierce on the mound, threw a heck of a game,” Dutton said. “He battled his butt off. It probably should have been a shutout, but they got a couple on him in the seventh.”
Pierce pitched six shutout innings before giving up the two runs on four hits in the top of the seventh. He finished the game with two runs (one earned) allowed on six hits with six strikeouts and one walk.
“He only gave up two hits leading up to that inning,” Dutton said. “If you give a team hope, they battle even harder.
“I give them credit for that.”
Watson Chapel scored two runs in the bottom of the third thanks to back-to-back doubles. It gave the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.
Senior Josh Dardenne led off the inning with a walk and stole second. He scored on an RBI double by Jaylen Jackson. Colson followed with a double down the third base line to plate Jackson for the two-run lead.
Colson finished 3 for 3 with an RBI. He was the only Wildcat with multiple hits. Jackson finished the game 1 for 2 with an RBI and a run scored.
“It feels good to be up in the conference,” Dutton said.
Chapel picked up what ended up as the deciding run in the bottom of the fourth.
With one out, Williams was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a stolen base. With two outs, Dalton Barker came through with an RBI single and it gave the Wildcats a 3-0 lead.
“It’s not our baseball as far as not finishing,” Dutton said. “… But we are glad we came away with the win.”
Stubber is tagged with the loss for Hope. He pitched all seven innings, allowing three runs (all earned) on six hits with seven strikeouts and three walks.
Watson Chapel head coach Chad Cope had to sit out the game against Hope. He was ejected from the Wildcats’ previous game.