LIVINGSTON -- Doyle nailed down a 10-2A series win against Springfield on Friday and solidified its spot in second place in the league standings with a 4-3 walk-off in extra innings.
Up until the time extra innings were necessary, the game was on pace to finish in a little over an hour and a half, a break-neck pace for a 7-inning game. Both teams and pitching staffs pushed a fast tempo all game long and it resulted in wild, drastic swings.
For 5 innings Springfield dominated and led 3-0 until Doyle coaxed a two-out walk, single and double to tie the game and eventually force extra innings.
That pace was a product of the pitching staffs, but also the intensity between the two familiar rivals.
“It was a good high school game,” Beatty said. “It’s always a battle with those guys. They’re best friends, they stay at each other’s houses and they play ball together in the summer. It is always going to be a good game against them.”
Added Springfield coach Michael Rutland, “They’re a good team. Once we got a 3-0 lead I told them they had to score more runs. You know they are going to fight their guts out and make a run at us. You have to credit their pitching staff for bearing down and getting the job done. They fought hard and we fought hard, but it didn’t really go our way.”
The Bulldogs opened the scoring in the 3rd inning after two walks and hit by pitch loaded the bases with no outs. Keith McKigney’s sacrifice fly to left field brought in the game’s first run and Matt Kreutzer’s single followed by an RBI groundout from Zac Wild scored all the free passes issued in the inning.
“It really was actually hard (to lay off pitches),” Springfield’s Collin Hayden said. “You know that he is struggling but you don’t know if he is going to throw you a ball or a strike. Coach likes us to go up there with a good mentality. Even if he is throwing balls, still expect the one he throws that you can make a mistake.”
That inning was enough to cut Doyle starting pitcher Brock Adams’ outing short. Adams finished his night after 3 innings pitched and allowing just one hit, but he surrendered three runs because of four walks and six stolen bases.
“We were having trouble,” Beatty said. “I knew they liked to run, (Adams) was just having trouble. They were timing him up and that’s something we have got to work on.”
Hunter Mizell came on in relief and pitched 3 great innings for the Tigers, allowing only one hit and two baserunners total, the other on a hit by pitch that was erased on an inning-ending double play.
Doyle leveled the score in the 6th inning with clutch hitting in a two-out rally. Trenton Mizell reached base on a one-out walk and moved to second base on a flyout. Once in position, Mizell scored on Mason Davis’ single to left field. Brayden Keen knocked Davis in with a double to the fence in left. The throw home beat David at the plate, but he was ruled safe. Keen advanced to third base on the throw and tied the game 3-3 when he scored on a wild pitch.
After the Tigers tied the game, Colten Newsom came in for Mizell and was equally as effective. He gave up back-to-back singles and a walk, but no harm came from the base hits and the walk was erased by a snuffed out steal attempt, the only for Doyle on the night.
Collin Hayden pitched well for Springfield, but as soon as the game went into the extra frame, his day was done. His 96 pitches were well over the original pitch count set for him heading into the contest and at this point in the season the last thing that Rutland wanted was to overextend his pitchers.
Hayden’s day finished after 7 and Zac Wild came in from the DH spot to start the extra inning.
“I felt like it wasn’t my best outing,” Hayden said. “I knew I was good to go for that last inning. They trusted my boy Zac and I trusted him too. We just had to make plays. No doubt I could have gone out and finished the 8th inning. But they felt the best decision was to go with Zac and I didn’t have a doubt in my mind that he could go in there and get it done.”
Added Rutland, “Collin has thrown well all season. He has been on the wrong side of some games where he has thrown well. I felt like he deserved to win it, but their guys just competed and battled.”
Brayden Keen got Doyle in business to start the 8th inning after he took a fastball to the back of his elbow to reach with one out. After a brief recovery period, Keen had to get back on his horse and book it to third after Colten Newsom doubled to right. Keen suffered a gnarly collision at the base but was in safely and stayed in the game to represent the winning run 90 feet away. Tyson Stewart was intentionally walked to force a double play from Adams, but that was not in the cards.
Adams instead hit a seeing-eye ground ball that snaked just to the right of Springfield second baseman Trevor Freeman and bounced into right to end the game.
“I was just looking for a fastball that I could put in play,” Adams said. “I was trying to get it past somebody. Hit it soft, score the run, and be a team player. I just trying to find a way to get the run in. That is all I was trying to do.”
With the win Doyle clinches the series against Springfield after the Tigers claimed a 6-0 win on Tuesday and Springfield prevailed 12-5 on Thursday.
For Beatty, winning the rubber match was a big motivational point coming into the series finale to simulate a postseason setting.
“I told our guys coming into the ballgame that it was the rubber match,” Beatty said. “It was the best-of-three and I love best-of three series. I told them this is what it is going to take. You have to play this game like it is the semifinals or the quarterfinals because you might have to go beat a team in three games.”
Both teams wrap up the 10-2A regular season next week with a final three-game series. The Bulldogs host French Settlement at 6 p.m. Monday, while the Tigers take aim at league-leader St. Thomas Aquinas starting at 6 p.m. Monday at home.
DOYLE 4, SPRINGFIELD 3 (8)
Springfield 003 000 00 -- 3 4 2
Doyle 000 030 01 -- 4 8 0
Collin Hayden, Zac Wild (8), and Ty Moran; Brock Adams, Hunter Mizell (4), Colten Newsom (7), and Mason Davis. W – Newsom, L – Wild. 2B: Doyle – Newsom, Tyson Stewart; 3B: Doyle – Brayden Keen. Records: Springfield 7-15, 1-5 District 10-2A; Doyle 15-13, 4-2. Up next: French Settlement at Springfield 6 p.m. Monday; St. Thomas Aquinas at Doyle, 6 p.m. Monday.