By BRIAN JENNINGS
Down by a pair of runs entering the bottom of the seventh inning, Jonathan Gray led Southington off with a double. Johnathan Mikosz stepped up to the plate next and knotted the score, 5-5, with a two-run blast over the outfield fence.
On Wednesday, April 5, the Blue Knight baseball team saw a 3-1 lead evaporate in the final inning, but Southington was far from finished. Teams rarely get a chance for a walk-off win on the road, but spring baseball can be a crazy thing.
With Southington’s home field still unplayable with soggy conditions, the Knights were forced to hit the road for a regularly scheduled home game in Windsor. The Knights fell behind in a see-saw battle but staged a last inning rally to regain the lead.
It didn’t come easy.
“It was a difficult day,” said Lembo. “I give Windsor’s coaching staff and their athletic director, Steve Risser, a lot of credit for being able to get that field ready. We probably would have had our infield ready, but our leftfield was so swampy at that point.”
Gray’s seventh-inning hit sparked a Southington rally. Mikosz tied the game, 5-5, but Southington was just getting started.
Brayden Cooney drew a walk on four straight balls and eventually stole second base. With one out, Jake Babon got on base with a walk and advanced to second on a Jeremy Mercier single.
On an 0-2 count, the Warriors pulled their infield in, but Matt Sciota delivered the game-winning hit with a base knock up the middle that scored Cooney from third. During that 0-2 count, Southington coach Charlie Lembo said that he was telling his batter to just stay short to the ball and get a good piece.
“That’s all you’re looking to do at 0-2,” said Lembo. “You’re fighting off pitcher’s pitches that might be strikes, and you’re looking to keep your at-bat going. If the guy throws you a strike right there, jump on it, and he did.”
Sciota’s game-winning hit lifted the Knights to a 6-5 victory at Windsor and a 1-0 start to the regular season.
The Warriors took a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the first. In the same inning, Tyler Cyr stole home to tie the score.
The Knights took a 3-1 lead off of a double by Sciota that scored Mercier in the second and a solo homerun by Mikosz in the fifth.
The Warrior rallied back to take a 5-3 advantage with four runs off two base hits, a sacrifice fly, and an error in the seventh.
“Tyler Cyr made a great running catch in right center for out number two of that inning,” said Lembo. “That would have been more runs that we would have been chasing. That was an awesome catch.”
Sciota and Mikosz each finished the game by going 2-for-3 with a walk. Ryan Sheehan started on the mound and went six innings with seven strikeouts, allowing four hits, two walks, and an earned run. Mikosz picked up the win after throwing an inning, allowing two hits and a run.
The Knights will be back on the diamond this week with games against EO Smith (1-1), Tolland (1-0), and Notre Dame-West Haven (2-1).
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2017/04/11/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-april-14-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.