CLINTON — After winning in walk-off fashion, Prince of Peace simply issued too many walks in the second game to come away with a sweep.
But even one win early in the season was a positive step for a program that has won just five games the past three seasons.
“I’ve been trying to get these guys to believe in themselves for years, and I think they’re finally getting to that point where they think they can beat other teams, and it happened,” Irish coach Bob Mulholland said of his team’s 5-4 win against visiting Easton Valley in the first game of a Tri-Rivers Conference baseball doubleheader Monday evening at Ashford University Field.
The free passes in the second game allowed a young Easton Valley team to bounce back with an 11-7 victory to earn a split.
“The first game we were a little sluggish to start,” said Easton Valley co-coach Colton Bormann, just a year removed from a stellar career for Preston. “In between games, we told them to forget about Game 1.”
That’s one the Irish (1-3) won’t want to forget. They won it with a bases-loaded squeeze bunt in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Andrey Drury opened the inning with his third hit but was erased at second base on a grounder by Jon Weisner. However, Weisner took advantage of an off-target throw to first base as Easton Valley tried for a double play, and he wound up at second base on the error.
Lucas Laufenberg was walked intentionally, then Nic Roth came up with his fourth hit, a slow roller up the third-base line, to load the bases for Devin Bly. That prompted a timeout by Easton Valley.
“They called a timeout for a mound visit and Bob (Mulholland) came out to me, he was like, ‘Want to try a suicide?’ “ Weisner said. “I pulled Devin up here and he goes, ‘What do you think?’ ‘Yes, sir.’ So were like, let’s go second pitch, they’ll be expecting it first pitch.”