BRIDGEWATER, Mass. — In John Kearney’s mind, Bridgewater-Raynham was playing with house money.
The Trojans had battled back from a four-run deficit to tie things up in the bottom of the ninth, and that was before Mike Bruemmel came to the plate with two outs in the inning.
With Jack Connolly on second base, Bruemel stung a liner into left field in front of strong-armed Dylan Morris. As Connolly was rounding third base, Morris bobbled the ball and wasn’t able to catch the speedy freshmen to finish off a 5-4 comeback home victory for the Trojans over Barnstable.
Having extra-innings already in his back pocket made the decision to send Connolly, with or without the bobble, an easy one for the Trojans.
“It’s tied already, so you take the chance,” Kearney said of the last play of the game. “All of their outfielders have excellent arms. The leftfielder has a very good arm and that little bobble is all it took. We had a little bit of speed on second with Connolly. But being tied, we take that chance. If he gets thrown out on a great throw we go extra innings. Down a run, I don’t know if we go. I don’t know. We might not if we are down one.”
The Trojans are now 4-5 overall and grabbed a huge win in the Old Colony League to push their record to 2-0. The Red Raiders drop to 7-2 and 1-1 in a conference that has been neck-and-neck between these two teams for the past couple of seasons.
Bruemmel's Game-Winner: Kearney has noticed his junior centerfielder scuffling at the plate after a nice start to the season, and this game might have been a microcosm of Bruemmel’s season.
Bruemmel was 0-for-4 in his first four plate appearances, while going 0-for-2 with a runner in scoring position, but jumped on the first pitch he saw from reliever Dan Holeman to get the game-winner.
“First few games of the year that’s what he was doing for us. Then he had a couple of games when he was trying to find himself,” said Kearney. “The past couple of games he’s been right back. This is his third year with us. I brought him up as a freshman. That’s the kind of kid he is, a clutch kid. A really clutch kid.”
Bruemmel didn’t feel like waiting around in his last at-bat.
“It was a straight fastball, chest high,” Bruemmel said after his first career walkoff. “I just went for it and took it to left.”
Bullpen Shows Rust: The Barnstable starters have been so good for the Red Raiders this season that Joe DeMartino’s bullpen has been used minimally.
It looked like his bullpen would have to wait another day with the way Keegan Dellacona was dealing. Dellacona held the Trojans scoreless through 8-1/3 innings, but after two singles by the bottom and 133 pitches, DeMartino gave him the hook.
Dellacona scattered seven hits and gave up two earned runs with six strikeouts and two walks in 8.1 innings of work.
“I had told myself that if (Dellacona) gets into trouble in the ninth then I was going to pull him,” said DeMartino. “The bullpen needs work, and they haven’t been able to get into games.”
The Trojans made the bullpen pay as they put five of the next six guys on to secure the comeback victory.