(Sugar Grove, IL.) – Waubonsee Community College's baseball team rallied late to win in walk-off fashion 9-8 over Aurora University's Junior Varsity. The Chiefs (12-16) trailed 8-4 heading to the bottom of the eighth before rallying to tie the game on a two-out, solo home run by Gavin Lovesky. Waubonsee then won the game in the bottom of the ninth as Adam Scharf delivered a game-winning single to left resulting in a Chiefs' celebratory dog-pile.
The Spartans scored a pair of runs in the top of the second by stringing together four hits off Chiefs' starter Nathan Bandura. A double by Ben Jaynes and run-scoring singles by Nate Smith and William Van Dyne gave Aurora the early lead. The Chiefs got a run back in the bottom of the third when Dustin Imanaka reached base on an infield single off fellow Hawaiian native Skyler Yamamoto. He advanced to third a batter later and scored when Hogan McIntosh tapped a ball in front of the plate and was thrown out at first, beating the throw back to home plate from first base.
The Spartans got an unearned run in the fifth to take a 3-1 lead. Waubonsee then answered in the bottom half of the inning scoring three times off Yamamoto. Garrett Goetz started the inning by beating out an infield single. McIntosh drove him home on the very next pitch by drilling a double to right center field. Two pitches later Justin Sartori knocked in McIntosh with a single to left center field to suddenly tie the game. After an error and a walk, Michael Maynard drew another walk to force in a run and give the Chiefs a 4-3 lead.
It remained that way until the top of the seventh when the Spartans booked five runs. Rick Malmfeldt blooped a one-out single down the right field line to drive in a run to tie the game. Two batters later Smith drew a bases-loaded walk to give Aurora a 5-4 lead. Blake Milburn then reached on a three-base error to suddenly put the Spartans in front 8-4.
In the top of the eighth Scharf made an outstanding diving catch in right center field to prevent the Spartans from adding on any insurance runs. The sophomore then started the Chiefs' eighth inning rally with a single up the middle. Imanaka then doubled to left center and Goetz followed with a double to right center field to drive in Scharf and Imanaka. Goetz then moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a ground out to shortstop to get Waubonsee within a run at 8-7. After another ground out to short, Lovesky lofted the second pitch he saw to right field and over the fence to tie the game.
Maynard led off the bottom of the ninth with single up the middle. Cody Lee then reached base on a fielder's choice setting the stage for Scharf's heroics. The left-handed hitter smacked a clean single to left to score Maynard with the winning run.
Goetz, Imanaka, Scharf, Maynard and Sartori all finished with two hits apiece, while McIntosh knocked in three runs. Tyler Venditti, the third Chiefs' pitcher on the day, picked up the win in relief allowing just one unearned run and one hit over two and two-thirds innings of work. Jaynes led Aurora going 2 for 3 with two doubles and was hit by pitch twice. Smith also finished 2 for 3 with a double, two runs scored, two walks and two runs batted in. Ashton Statz, the Spartans' fifth pitcher used, took the loss.