With his Cadets trailing by two runs with two outs in the seventh inning of Tuesday’s game against Chicago Christian, Marmion coach Dave Rakow had his post-game speech already prepared.
“I was going to tell the guys that when you make five errors and run yourselves out of innings, you’ll never, ever win,” said Rakow.
But then the Cadets staged a two-out, two-run rally to force extra innings, where Mike Pipp’s RBI single in the eighth inning gave Marmion a 5-4 victory over the visiting Knights.
“Anytime you get a win, you take it. But it wasn’t a pretty game today,” said Rakow. “If we can eliminate the errors, then we can eliminate the necessity of these late game dramatics.”
The Cadets were trailing 4-2 when Connor Riley reached first base on an error to start the seventh inning. The next two batters made outs, but Mitch Sterne hit a first-pitch fastball up the middle for a single that drove in Riley. The next batter, A.J. Friedman, hit a single to right field to bring home Sterne and tie the game 4-4.
The game went into extras after Alex Troop grounded out to second base with runners at second and third.
In the eighth, Andy Young scored the game-winning run on Pipp’s walk-off single to left field.
“We’re not a team that’s going to give up in any situation,” said Pipp. “Our team really came through today. We didn’t play our best game, but we found a way to win, and that says a lot about us.”
Chicago Christian (10-4, 0-2) took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Brodie Meyer’s single plated Jeremy Norway.
The Knights extended their lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning thanks to some miscues by Marmion. With two outs, Mike Harms scored on an infield error by the Cadets. Later in the inning, Sean Omeara crossed home plate on the back-end of a double steal.
The Cadets cut the deficit to one with a two-run fourth inning. Young walked with the bases loaded to bring home Nick Nasharr and Troop scored on a wild pitch by Knights pitcher Mike Kamp.
Norway, who reached base three times, added an RBI single in the sixth inning that gave the Knights a 4-2 lead.
After starting the season 1-4, Marmion (5-4, 2-0) has now won four straight games. Rakow said the Cadets haven’t changed much, things are just finally starting to break in the team’s favor.
“I don’t think we were playing bad baseball. The record didn’t really reflect it, but I think we’ve been relatively consistent in terms of our play,” said Rakow. “It’s just that some games when you’re close you don’t win, and some you do.”
I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon and yourseason.com. It appears here.