By Sam Doherty
Helping to finish off one of Brookhaven College’s most memorable comebacks in recent history, first baseman Trevor Ahin hit a game-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, awarding the Brookhaven men’s baseball team a win over Cedar Valley College, 7-5.
On March 16, at Brookhaven, Bears starting pitcher Tyler Keegan got off to a great start by throwing three scoreless innings. The Cedar Valley Suns would not be denied, however. They took control of the game after scoring three runs in the fourth and tacking on one run each in the fifth and sixth innings, extending their lead, 1-5. Keegan tried limiting the damage before head coach Brandon Rains pulled him after five innings for Jacob Haggerty.
Haggerty was able to get the Bears out of the sixth inning and eventually out of the seventh after making an incredible play on the mound, snagging a comebacker that robbed Cedar Valley of a hit. Haggerty ran the ball himself to first base as he pumped his team up with the great play.
The bottom of the seventh inning started with the Bears’ hopes of winning looking less and less likely. Third baseman Lance Brooks stepped up to the plate and crushed a fastball off of Cedar Valley pitcher Chandler Clark. Immediately, the Bears’ demeanor changed as Brooks watched the ball clear the fence in deep left center field for a solo home run.
The Bears did not reach base again in the seventh inning, so Rains brought in pitcher Cameron Copeland in the eighth. Down 2-5, Ahin led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a single, and catcher Cord Perea followed it up with a groundball base hit down the line, getting just under the outstretched glove of Cedar Valley’s third baseman. After working the count to three balls and two strikes, the next Brookhaven batter, Kaleb Warden, got walked on to first base.
The stage was set as the bases were loaded with zero outs and Brookhaven still down by three runs. Cedar Valley brought in new pitcher, Cesar Martinez, as outfielder Alec Kana eyed him, studying his delivery as he stood in the on-deck circle.
After seeing the first two pitches, Kana was down two strikes in the count. The third pitch came in and was quickly sent in the opposite direction as Kana ripped one in the gap, clearing the bases as the ball rolled all the way to the wall for a stand up double. Just like that, the game was tied, 5-5.
After Martinez was pulled, Christopher Clark came in for the Suns and retired the side to end the eighth inning. Copeland did the same for the Bears in the ninth as he retired the side quickly, keeping the momentum on Brookhaven’s side.
Shortstop Junior Rios led off the ninth with a walk, still facing Clark as he stayed in the game after stranding Kana on second base in the eighth.
The next Brookhaven batter was Ahin. After watching the first pitch go by, Ahin stepped back up to the plate looking for something to hit. Ahin drove a pitch that was on the outside of the plate high into the sky and to the opposite side of the field.
As Ahin rounded first base, the ball cleared the wall for a game-winning home run. The Bears celebrated by greeting Ahin as he crossed home plate, jumping up and down as a team and cheering for one another, ending the game with a comeback.