It wasn’t pretty, but the Washington Freedom got exactly what it needed – a win.
Washington (5-11) defeated Sullivan (8-14-1) 12-9 in an American Legion baseball contest at the Sports Complex Wednesday contest that saw each team score at least five runs in a single inning.
Washington held a 12-9, which appeared to be slipping away in the top of the eighth inning when Sullivan brought the go-ahead run to the plate. The 11-0 lead Washington held through five innings was a distant memory – all that mattered now was getting the most important two outs of the game. That job belonged to the left arm of Trevor Resler.
Facing the possibility of a most devastating loss, Resler struck Tanner Butler swinging and Brett Yeryar flew out to right field to end the threat. Resler finished off Sullivan in the ninth by setting the final three batters down in order.
“That’s Trevor (Resler) – he’s just a bulldog out there,” said Washington coach Jeff Truelove. “One of the guys he faced was Tanner Butler – a college hitter – a real big kid. I’ve seen him (Butler) hit the ball 600 feet and Trevor (Resler) came right at him.”
After Freedom starting pitcher Trevor Claridge held Sullivan to a zero on the scoreboard in the first inning, his teammates broke out in a big way at the plate. Washington scored five runs on three hits and was aided by three Sullivan errors.
Washington’s offense forced Sullivan starter Trey Bedwell to throw 37 pitches, while allowing five runs, which were all unearned.
“We were kind of like sharks, we smelled blood in the water,” Truelove said. “We’ve beaten Sullivan several times – they’ve beaten us, but we’ve beaten them several times. The mindset is we know we can beat them – it’s a confidence thing and that’s 99.9 percent of this game.”
Washington scored four more runs on four hits in the third inning and was aided by three Sullivan errors. Bedwell was lifted from the game after allowing seven hits, eight runs (2 earned) in just 2 1-3 innings pitched.
After adding two more runs in the fifth inning on Tyler Edmiston and Bailey White RBI singles, the Freedom had an 11-0 lead as they were only six retired batters away from an easy seven-inning victory.
All the momentum the Freedom might have possessed heading into the top of the sixth inning, evaporated quickly. Sullivan scored eight runs on five hits, which was helped by five Washington errors. Truelove pulled many of his starters including Brayden Walls, Edmiston and Bailey White with a tough schedule ahead.
“The mindset was just to keep plowing along,” said Walls. “Yeah we caught some bad breaks, but at the end of the day you’re still up and yeah you might have to play a few more innings, but we just needed to work through it and give it our best.”
Claridge managed to retired just one Sullivan batter, before he was replaced by Resler. Resler allowed seven hits, eight runs (4 earned), while striking out four.
Suddenly, Washington was battling for a win that a half inning prior looked like a sure thing. Truelove gathered his troops, many of which had been sitting on the bench for the first five innings and gave them a message.
“I gathered them together and I said, I wouldn’t have asked any of you guys to be part of my team if I didn’t have confidence in you. I watched them all play; they’re all real good ball players. It’s just a confidence thing.”
Sullivan 000 008 010 – 9 8 7
Washington 504 021 0x – 12 13 7
Claridge, Resler (6th) and Benock, Like; Bedwell, Hauger (3rd), Butler and McNeely.
W-Claridge L-Bedwell S-Resler
2B: (W) Miller 2.