Champlin Park celebrates its 4-3 victory against Centennial after Jack Loven (8) hit a line-drive base hit sending Nicklaus Carlson (17) home in the bottom of the eighth inning. Photo by Aiyanna Taylor, SportsEngine
For six innings on Friday night, everything was going Centennial’s way.
It took the Cougars only three plate appearances to score the first run of the game. They added two insurance runs in the sixth inning thanks to the bats of Jack Dagostino and Aidan Lieser, but it didn’t look like they would need them.
Tyler Gruye was dealing on the mound for the Cougars, having given up four hits through six innings of work.
But after six quiet innings, Champlin Park made plenty of noise in the last two, coming away with a 4-3 win thanks to a walk-off hit from Jack Loven in the eighth inning.
“These guys just play for each other, they never count themselves out of it,” Champlin Park coach Ryan Tohm said. “We’ve had multiple times this year where we’ve come back late and put up a big number up late and won a game.”
Justin Brooks (9) pitched a solid game to help lead the Rebels to a win. Photo by Aiyanna Taylor, SportsEngine
Thanks to a late rally and a walk-off hit, Champlin Park defeated Northwest Suburban Conference rival Centennial 4-3 on Friday night.
The Cougars, ranked No. 10 in the most recent Class 4A coaches’ poll, did not waste a lot of time getting on the scoreboard. After a leadoff double by Anders Wessman and an infield single from Peyton Streit, Will Whelan hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Wessman to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead three batters into the first inning.
The bats for both teams were quiet for the next few innings as both starting pitchers were locked in. For the unranked Rebels, Justin Brooks responded well to giving up those two early hits as he retired the next nine Centennial batters. He ended up giving up eight hits while striking out six Cougars in 7.2 innings pitched.
Pitcher Tyler Gruye gave the Rebels issues all game, as he allowed five hits and struck out four batters in 6.1 innings of work for the Cougars (11-4, 7-3). His night ended after giving up two hits in the bottom of the seventh.
The Rebels (10-4, 8-2) were able to rally from there thanks to two walks, a wild pitch, an error and a fielder’s choice to tie the game.
Once the game went to extras, the momentum stayed with the Rebels. After two-out hits from Nicklaus Carlson and Zachary Zahalka, Jack Loven lined a single up the middle to win it for the Rebels.
Centennial pitcher Tyler Gruye (11) racked up four strikeouts in Friday's matchup, helping the Cougars stay on top for the first six innings. Photo by Aiyanna Taylor, SportsEngine
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