HANOVER, IND. -- The Defiance College baseball team rallied for six runs in the top of the ninth inning to take a 10-8 lead, but surrendered three runs in the bottom of the frame to come out on the losing end of an 11-10 decision against Hanover (Ind.) College in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opener.
In a game that saw a combined 28 hits, the Yellow Jackets tallied 13 of those hits with junior Glen Collier (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) going three-of-four with two runs scored and a RBI. Sophomore Troy Konwinski (Allen Park, Mich./Allen Park) and senior Dave Blanch (Alliston, Ont./Banting Memorial) both went two-of-five and both also scored a run and had three RBI. Senior Zack Reed (Midland, Mich./Bullock Creek) also posted a pair of hits in five at-bats in addition to a run scored. Four other DC players each recorded a base hit in the game.
Hanover (10-4, 1-1 HCAC) got on the board first with two runs in the bottom of the first inning that included a lead-off solo homerun. Defiance (3-9, 0-1 HCAC) got one of the runs back in the second on a double by senior Mac Edwards (Kingston, Ont./Jefferson CC) that scored Blanch from second base, making the score 2-1.
The Panthers then took a sizeable lead with a four-run third to extend the margin to 6-1. The Yellow Jackets began to chip away at the deficit with a run in the top of the fourth thanks to a RBI-fielder's choice by Blanch and then two more runs in the eighth that came on a run-scoring double by Konwinski and a double by Blanch that narrowed the gap to 6-4. But Hanover answered with two runs of its own in the bottom of the eighth to increase its lead to 8-4.
Heading into the ninth inning, DC began the scoring with a bases loaded walk which was later followed by a two-RBI single by Konwinski, all with no outs, to make it an 8-7 ball game. Following back-to-back outs, that included a sacrifice fly by Blanch that resulted in another run for the Jackets, freshman Everett Kissel (Defiance/Tinora) scored a pair of runs on a single which gave DC a 10-8 advantage.
In the bottom of the inning, Hanover quickly had a runner at every base and got two of those runners across home plate on a single to even the game at 10-10. The very next batter, the Panthers recorded another single that allowed the game-winning run to score to claim the 11-10 victory.
Senior Nick Watkins (Lima/Central Catholic) started the game at pitcher for Defiance and went 7.1 innings giving up eight runs on 11 hits to go along with four strikeouts and ended up with a no decision. Sophomore Paris Creek (Bryan) came on to pitch two-thirds of an inning of relief and allowed a hit and a walk. Junior Cody Nelson (Clayton, Mich./Hudson) ended the game and was given the loss after allowing three runs on three hits.
Defiance and Hanover are scheduled to wrap-up the HCAC three-game series tomorrow (Saturday, Mar. 25) with a doubleheader that is scheduled to begin at noon in Hanover, Ind.