St. Michael the Archangel second baseman Dwain Varisco was left without words to describe his team’s uncanny knack for its late-game magic.
The Warriors’ 6-5 victory Wednesday on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth over University High represented the fourth time they’ve won in extra innings and third time in walk-off fashion.
“I don’t know how we’re doing it,” Varisco said. “I’ve never been a part of something like this.”
St. Michael (13-6) was within an out of wrapping up a 5-2 victory when U-High (16-7) rallied with three runs in the top of the seventh — capped by Seth Daugherty’s three-run homer.
“I was proud of the guys for the way they fought and didn’t give in and showed some resiliency there,” said U-High coach Justin Morgan, whose team had its 12-game win streak snapped. “Hopefully moving forward, we can continue to do the same things throughout the course of the game.”
Varisco, whose first homer of the season provided a 3-0 lead in the third, beat out an infield single to lead off the ninth against U-High reliever Manning Greene. He reached third on a wild pitch and fielder’s choice.
Greene, who pitched 2.1 innings in relief of starter Brooks Southall, had a 1-1 count against Nolan Tiersch when his third pitch bounced past catcher Peyton Wagner and to the backstop.
“I don’t know if I’ve had a team that can mentally bounce back the way that this team can,” Bernhard said. “That’s been the mark of this team all season. Every time adversity strikes, it seems like they’ve found a way to regain the momentum.”
St. Michael’s Michael Smith (2-for-4, 3 RBIs) singled in a run during a two-run first and added a two-run homer, his fourth of the season, to left field to make it 5-0.
U-High scored a pair of unearned runs in the sixth after St. Michael starter Mason Gremillion recorded the first two outs in the seventh.
Pinch-hitter Thomas Downs was hit by Gremillion’s first offering, and ninth-hole hitter BJ Smothers (2-4) singled to center, setting the stage for Daugherty, who hammered the first pitch over the left-center-field fence.
St. Michael’s defense, which turned a pair of double plays, registered two sterling defensive plays in the eighth courtesy of center fielder Jack Caballero and Nathan Scott in right.
Scott Terrell (5-1) got the win with 2.1 innings of scoreless relief, walking one and striking out two.
“You have to credit U-High’s kids to find a way to tie it,” Bernhard said. “You also have to credit our kids for finding a way to come back and win the game.”