Elgin handles Eisenhower
ELGIN Late on his swing, Elgin's Lance Bianchini fouled off a pitch that wound up shattering a window in a house behind the Owls' diamond.
As the homeowners came out to check on their broken window, Bianchini smashed the ball in the opposite direction on the very next pitch. This swing was perfectly timed as Bianchini delivered a 3-run home run his second of the season in the first inning to erase a four-run deficit while propelling Elgin to a 17-9 win over Eisenhower at home on Thursday's Senior Night.
"I was just looking to make an adjustment, wanting to drive in my teammates to at least tie the game," Bianchini said. "But then he (Tre Harris) gave me a pitch to drive out so I just took advantage of it. Those home runs are cool to hit."
Bianchini, who went 2-for-3 with 3 RBIs, also earned the win on the mound, tossing five innings in relief with five strikeouts. Four of his five surrendered runs were charged in the fifth inning. Bianchini relieved senior starter Dawson Dudark, who gave up four hits, three walks and four runs in the first. But Bianchini dug the Owls out of a four-run hole in the first by working out of a bases-loaded jam with three straight-outs two via the strikeout before delivering the home run.
"Lance is a tough kid and can handle those kinds of situations," Elgin coach Levi Garrett said. "Dawson's outing didn't go the way we thought it would so Lance had to get ready in an emergency, and that's what good teammates and good teams do. They respond and overcome.
"I've been telling Lance he needs to step up and deliver. That's what he did today on both sides of the ball."
The seven senior Owls did the rest. Jacob Dawson went 3-for-4 with 4 RBIs and two doubles while Chase Defelippo went 2-for-2 with 2 RBIs, two doubles and two walks. Jaken Snider went 4-for-5 with four singles and nearly went yard in the second inning when his deep fly ball was robbed at the centerfield wall by Ike's Nick Paquin. TJ Neidert also had an RBI double in the Owls' 5-run fifth inning to pull away for good.
It was only fitting another senior would end it as Braeden Shackelford delivered the walkoff RBI single to left field to run-rule Ike in six innings.
"Senior Night is always a blast. The guys today went out like they should," Garrett said. "They are winners who have done this for four years now so they're kind of spoiled. They don't know much about losing or what we went through to get to where we are at today. I'm happy for them and the final memory at this field is a successful one."
Dawson delivered a 2-run single to right field in the first and Defilippo then smacked a double to the right-center wall before scoring on an error. Their two hits, sandwiched between Bianchini's homer, were part of three straight two-out hits and a six-run first inning for Elgin (19-11) which travels to Weatherford today.
"Two-out hits win ball games," Garrett said. "I'm really happy for Jacob and Chase. They've both always worked hard for me and are great, selfless teammates. Never once have they asked or complained. They're always wanting their teammates do well. With kids like that, it's exciting to see them have success."
Tre Harris, who went 3-for-4 with 2 RBIs and two runs scored, was saddled with the loss for Ike as he surrendered 11 runs in 3.1 innings of work, giving up eight hits while hitting or walking eight Owls.
Every time Ike (9-21) inched closer, the Owls began to once again separate themselves. Ike, which travels to Elk City on Saturday, made it 6-5 before Elgin answered with two runs in the third and three more in the home half of the fourth inning to take an 11-5 lead into the fifth.