Jackets Win Conference Opener in Thrilling Fashion
Friday, March 22, 2013 | by Robby Hamman
Hanover (7-7, 0-1 HCAC)
Defiance (7-3, 1-0 HCAC)
3/22/2013 | Hanover, IN | Attendance: 49
Win: Patterson (2-0) 2.010001
Loss: Hockenbury (0-0) 1.222111
Shultz (HC) 512000
Sears (HC) 412000
Chapman (HC) 402100
Habecker (DC) 302000
Musser (DC) 202020

HANOVER, Ind. – The Defiance College baseball program won its Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opener for the first time in recent memory, as the Jackets defeated Hanover in extra innings on Friday evening. DC pulled out the win over the Panthers by a score of 3-2.

The Purple and Gold received another superb pitching performance from the reigning HCAC Pitcher of the Week, Darin Waterman. The junior tossed eight innings with seven strikeouts, while giving up two runs on seven hits and no walks.

Despite the great pitching, the Jackets trailed by a score of 2-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. DC’s Aaron Helland drew a two-out, bases loaded walk to draw the Yellow Jackets within one run, but the squad was unable to tie the game or take the lead, as the Panthers squelched the offensive threat.

After the Jackets drew within one run in the seventh, neither team managed to score in the eighth inning, setting the stage for a dramatic finish. Defiance’s Aaron Patterson came on in relief to pitch the ninth and tossed a scoreless inning to give DC one last chance at the plate.

The Hanover defense got the first two Yellow Jacket batters of the inning to ground out, leaving the Panthers one out away from victory. Defiance’s Chris Donese stepped up to the dish and laced a triple into left field, keeping the team alive for at least one more at bat. The Jackets’ three-hitter and starting pitcher, Waterman, came through in the clutch, as the Celina native produced a single that scored Donese to tie the game at 2-2 and send the game to extra innings.

The Purple and Gold used the momentum at the plate to shut down the Hanover bats from the mound, as Patterson threw a perfect tenth inning to give Defiance a chance to end the game in the bottom of the frame.

DC’s Ben Weber led off the inning by reaching on an error, followed by Joel Musser drawing a walk to put the Jackets in an excellent position for a walk-off win. Gary Levengood then grounded out, moving the winning run to third base with one out. A Defiance intentional walk to load the bases followed by a foul out to the catcher gave the Purple and Gold another opportunity to come up with two-out heroics.

With Aaron Helland in the batter’s box, the Panther pitcher uncorked a wild pitch allowing Weber to score the game’s winning run and deliver the team a hard-fought 3-2 victory.

Patterson, the DC pitcher of record, was crucial in the win, as the senior tossed a scoreless ninth and tenth inning en route to winning his second game of the season.

With the victory, the team moves to 7-3 on the season and are 1-0 in conference play. The Jackets are back in action on Saturday, as DC wraps up its three-game series against Hanover with a doubleheader. Game one is scheduled to begin at noon.