Bombers Inching Closer To Regular Season Title With Win At Hoptown
HOPKINSVILLE, KY (By William Wells) – The Dubois County Bombers inched one step closer to securing their first Ohio Valley League championship Saturday night with a thrilling 7-6 victory in Hopkinsville.
The last week has been a roller coaster ride for the Bombers as they have struggled to nail down the league championship. Last night’s win was a microcosm of that up-and-down journey. In a recap that sounds more like a basketball game, there were four ties and four lead changes. Nevertheless, the game almost took one more turn.
Down 7-5 going to the bottom of the ninth, Hopkinsville scored once and loaded the bases with two outs. The Hoppers star center fielder, Ernie de la Trinidad stepped to the plate. Commonly known as DLT, de la Trinidad leads the league in base hits, stolen bases, and is third in batting average. The Bombers duo of Daniel Johnson and Drake McNamara are the only two hitters ahead of DLT on that list.
But de la Trinidad lifted a fly down the left field line that Devyn Newberry ran down in foul territory to end the game, restoring a 1-game lead for the Bombers with two games left in the season.
Dubois County got on the board first when Johnson single-handedly manufactured a run in the first inning. After being hit by a pitch, Johnson stole second and advanced home on a couple of pitches that the Hopkinsville catcher couldn’t handle from starting pitcher Zach Denney.
Hopkinsville took a 2-1 lead in the second on a home run by Trent Turner.
The Bombers regained the lead in the top of the third. Morgan DePew led off with a double. McNamara singled him in after Nick Gobert walked. Gobert later dashed home when Noah Sadler ground into a double play.
But the Hoppers would reply immediately. An error and three singles totaled a pair of runs in the bottom of the third, returning the advantage to Hopkinsville, 4-3.
Dubois County tied the game in the sixth, scoring when catcher Cody Krumlauf drove in Newberry, knotting the game at 4-all.
With both starters out of the game, it would be decided by the bullpens. Madisonville took a 5-4 lead off of Nick Scheller with three singles in the seventh.
Faced with the prospect of seeing their final bit of the league lead slip away, the Bombers mounted one of their most clutch rallies of the season in the ninth inning. Down to their last out with nobody on base, Alec Mueller was hit by a pitch. Gobert followed by coaxing a walk. Drake McNamara, leading the league in RBIs, added another to his total driving a base hit to the outfield to tie the game. When Noah Sadler reached on a Hopper error, two more Bombers crossed the plate.
Then came the bottom of the ninth. The challenge was to stop the roller coaster from making another pass.
Konner Eck was on the mound for the Bombers, the fourth pitcher of the night. The first two batters reached on a hit and a hit batter. A fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly left a runner on first, two down, and the Bombers clinging to a 1-run lead. Then Eck walked the next two Hoppers loading the bases with DLT stepping to the batter’s box.
Jay Prior was called out of the pen, and one long foul ball later, the game was over.
Eck gets credit for the win, his first decision of the year. Prior earns his first save.
The Bombers league lead returns to one full game with two to play. They will travel down to Owensboro tonight before closing out the season at Madisonville Tuesday. The playoffs are scheduled to start on Thursday. Playoff dates and opponents remain to be decided. However, it is likely that the Bombers first playoff game will be on Friday, and their first playoff home game will be Saturday, the 25th.