Bowling Green caps off comeback win on walk-off balk to capture series

Published 2:23 pm Tuesday, April 30, 2019

If you watch enough baseball, chances are that you will see something you have never seen before and may never see again.
Late Friday night at Bowling Green, the Buccaneers won an elimination game at home in rare fashion — a walk-off balk.
After trailing by seven runs twice at 7-0 and 10-3, Bowling Green came back to tie Central Hinds Academy, 10-10 in the seventh.
The Buccaneers had the bases loaded and two outs.
Timmy Ruffino was at third.
The count was 0-2.
What happened next was unexpected.
When the pitcher came set, Ruffino took off for the plate. The throw went home, but the pitcher balked. All of the base runners move up a base on a balk, including Ruffino, who was carrying the game-winning run and scored — capping off an 11-10 victory and a marathon doubleheader night that began at about 5 p.m. and ended around 11:25 p.m.
“Drew (Wagner) went 0-2 on a questionable pitch. It seemed like a younger arm in there, so I just told Timmy (Ruffino), ‘when he comes set, when he looks at you, take off and see what happens,’ and he balked. There’s many ways to win a game and that’s one and you saw it tonight,” Bowling Green coach Justin Garcia said.
In an evening of highlights and things you don’t normally see in baseball, the walk-off balk and a seven-run comeback were just two of them.
There was another in the sixth inning.
Bowling Green trailed 7-0 after two innings, got within 7-3 after three, but the margin went to 10-3 through 4.5.
Then, the Buccaneers scored the game’s final eight runs to win.
In the bottom of the fifth, Cade Knight singled with one out. Casey Burge was next and he got ahold of a pitch for a two-run homer. It was a no-doubter over the left-field wall and it was 10-5.
It was his fourth homer this year.
“All I know is, I got a good pitch and I got a good swing on it,” Burge said. “Whenever you work hard, sometimes things pay off whenever possible.”
His next at-bat might have been just as memorable.
Bowling Green came up in the sixth with the 10-5 score. Mitchell Lott walked, Hunter Wilkinson singled and Ruffino walked, all with one out. Cameron Bell came up with the bases loaded and reached on an error. Lott tallied to make it 10-6.
After the second out, Burge stepped to the plate with the bases still loaded and the theme of rare things seen in a baseball game came up once again.
Burge took a pair of pitches down and away and then a high fastball to make the count 3-0.
Central Hinds then decided to intentionally walk Burge with the bases loaded, scoring Sammy Phelps to make it 10-7.
When asked if he had ever been intentionally walked with the bases loaded, Burge said, “not that I remember. Not that I can remember, no, but it was definitely — I really didn’t know how to react, whether it was a compliment or what, but just to be able to contribute to a team win like that is really special.”
Garcia praised Burge.
“Casey’s our guy. He got the Barry Bonds treatment tonight. They intentionally walked him with the bases loaded,” Garcia said. “He hit the big two-run homer there in the sixth to tie the game (in Bowling Green’s game one win on Tuesday, April 23), he hit the two-run homer tonight, which might’ve landed in the river, but that respect, the guys after him have to pick him up and that’s what’s happened. But, you can’t find a better guy, just a better person, much-less baseball player and nobody deserves that more than he does.”
Bowling Green completed the comeback in the seventh.
The inning began with Denzel Evans walking, taking second on a wild pitch and Ben Hicks doubling off of the left field wall, plating Evans to make it 10-8. Lott walked. After the first out, Ruffino drew a base on balls, but on ball four, there was a wild pitch. Hicks scored to make it 10-9 and Ruffino alertly went to second on the play. Bell’s RBI groundout tied the game at 10-10, as pinch runner Rece Dillon scored. Knight walked to put two runners on. Burge was next and he was intentionally walked once again. Ruffino took off from third when the pitcher came set, the pitcher balked in the winning run.
This game completed a best-of-three series.
Bowling Green won the first one, 4-3, on the road.
The second game was earlier Friday and the Buccaneers lost 4-2 in nine innings.
Bowling Green took a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Knight reached on an error, stole second and went to third on a wild pitch before scoring on Burge’s RBI fielder’s choice, as Knight beat the play at the plate to make it 1-0.
Central Hinds evened the game at 1-1 in the second. Carson Turner singled to left and took second on a fielding error. He later scored on Prentice Brown’s RBI triple.
Bowling Green went back in front in its half of the second. Hicks singled, stole second, was bunted to third by Dillon and scored on Wilkinson’s RBI single to give Bowling Green a 2-1 lead.
Central Hinds tied it up in the third.
Ranson Oakes singled down the third-base line. Hagan Coumbe singled to right, but a fielding error allowed Oakes to reach third. After Collin Hautle was hit, Turner plated Oakes on an RBI groundout to tie things 2-2.
It stayed that way through the seventh, forcing extra innings.
The game was still even at 2-2 in the ninth when Central Hinds plated two runs.
Hunter Williams reached on an error, went to second on Brown’s sacrifice bunt and third on Blake Pierce’s fly out to center. Coumbe walked and stole second before both players scored on Oakes’ two-run single to make it 4-2.
Bowling Green was unable to come back that game, forcing a deciding game where the Bucs did make the come back in the 2-1 series victory.
Bowling Green advanced and begins a best-of-three series against Central Private School at home on Tuesday, April 30 at 7 p.m. Games two, and if necessary, three, will take place Friday at Central Private, with game two set for 5 p.m.

Bowling Green School’s Hunter Wilkinson slides safely into third base during the first game Friday at Bowling Green School.