Panthers top Indians in walk-off fashion
HOOSICK, N.Y. >> Big spots in late game situations have not been a foreign position for Connor McCart.
From the basketball court to the football field, the senior has come up clutch in key situations to help his team win and did so again on Friday, this though, on the baseball diamond.
With bases the loaded and one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, McCart ripped a base hit right past the outstretched glove of the second baseman to score the game's winning run, giving the Hoosick Falls baseball team a 10-9 victory over Wasaren League rival Hoosic Valley.
"It's pretty awesome to come through there with bases loaded to help the team get win," McCart said. "The guys in front of me did a good job getting on base to start the inning and that gave me the opportunity to come up with the hit to win the game. It's an incredible feeling."
Many people could not have imagined this happening, since McCart has not played baseball throughout his high school career, last playing in eighth grade.
McCart has used his spring seasons in high school to play in AAU leagues, focusing on basketball, but decided to come try out for the Hoosick Falls baseball team for senior year and is happy that he decided to do so.
"It's been really fun playing baseball again," McCart said. "I loved playing baseball in little league and it was my favorite sport growing up. I'm just happy that I have been able to help the team win games here to start of the season and that the hard work I have been putting in at practice is paying off."
Before McCart's walk-off hit, it looked like the Panthers had their fifth win of the year in the bag going into the seventh inning.
Trailing 5-2 going into the bottom of the sixth inning, the Panthers rallied to score seven runs in the frame to take a 9-5 lead going into the seventh.
Hoosick Falls' four run lead, though, was not as safe as they thought as the Indians stuck together a late inning rally of their own, scoring three runs and then with runners at the corners and two out, tied the game at 9-9 on a RBI infield single to force extra innings.
"It was great to see the guys keep battling all game long," said Hoosick Falls coach Mike Lilac. "We had guys up and down the lineup step up for us in key situations and I thought both our pitchers (Wyatt Cushman and Andrew Stevens) did a good job keeping us in the game and not backing down after giving up some runs."
Starting pitcher Wyatt Cushman did a good job going deep into the ball game for the Panthers, giving up six runs and striking out one in six plus innings pitched to keep Hoosick Falls in the game.
Sophomore Andrew Stevens did a fine job coming in relief of Cushman, bouncing back from giving up game's tying run in the seventh, sitting down Hoosic Valley in order in the eighth inning to help him pick up back-to-back wins on the mound for the Panthers.
At the plate, senior Wyatt Whitman led the way for Hoosick Falls with three hits and a team-high three RBIs on the afternoon, including a two-run single in the bottom the sixth inning to give the Panthers a 7-5 lead.
Junior Ryan Sanders continued to rake at the plate for Hoosick Falls, smacking a two-run single to center field with the bases loaded in the sixth inning to make a 9-5 game, giving him two RBIs on the day.
Early on in the sixth inning, senior Alex Mendez tied the game for the Panthers with an RBI single, adding to his two hit day at the plate for Hoosick Falls.
Senior Josh McCart also had an RBI single in the sixth inning for Hoosick Falls, producing the first run of the inning to get the Panther rally going.
"This was a great win for us," Lilac said. "We have now won four league games in a row and were rolling on all cylinders right now, so we just want keep momentum going and keep getting better."
With the win, Hoosick Falls is now 5-2 on the season and extend their winning streak to four.
The Panthers will have almost a week off before they play their next game, hosting Mount Anthony on Thursday at 4:15 p.m.
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