Hennessey Eagles Baseball earned their two-game sweep of the Newkirk Tigers in dramatic fashion, first with a come-from-behind 5-4 victory on Thursday night, then with a 12-3 thrashing of the Tigers on their senior night in Newkirk.
Trailing 1-0 in the 5th inning in game one, Senior CF Seth Simunek tied things up scoring on an RBI line drive base hit by Westyn Hopkins. Two hitters later, Senior Sebastian Gonzalez gave the Eagles their first lead with an RBI bases loaded walk. Freshman Catcher Hayden Hubbard followed with a single that scored 2 before Gonzalez scored, himself, on a passed ball.
The Tigers answered with 3 runs in the top of the 6th to trim the Eagles lead to 1. In that inning, Newkirk’s 2nd baseman Kyson Thiel was ejected for arguing a strike three call. That would become a big factor in how this game concluded.
Fast-forward to the top of the 7th and the Eagles clinging to a 5-4 lead, Freshman Jarrett Smith, on the mound in relief of starter Jakob Johns, got the first two Tigers out with a ground out and a strikeout before giving up a two-strike double to Newkirk’s #1 hitter. With the tying run in scoring position, in steps the Tiger’s replacement for the previously ejected Thiel. At this point, Hennessey Head Coach Matthew Fuksa has a discussion with the home plate umpire, then with the field umpire joining in. Upon the conclusion of the discussion, the umpires turned and called the replacement batter out for “illegal, unreported substitute,” as the Tiger’s head coach Blake Dunlap failed to report this player’s entry as a proper substitute. Game over. Eagles win 5-4.
Hubbard led the Eagles at the plate going 2 for 4 with 2 RBI. Hopkins and Kevin Trillo were the only other Eagles with hits in the game, as the team only mustered 4 total, but did walk 10 times.
Jarrett Smith, now 4-2 on the season, earned the win in relief, pitching 3 2/3, allowing 4 hits, 3 runs, 2 BB, striking out 4.
Game 2 of the series was the Sebastian Gonzalez show. With both his bat and his arm, Sebas’ put the Eagles on his shoulders and led them to a decisive victory.
Newkirk’s #1, Tucker Beaston, who had an outstanding day on the mound himself – going 5 complete, walking only 1 Eagle, and striking out 11, had no answer, however, for Sebastian Gonzalez, who went 2 for 3 with 2 runs scored and 5 RBI – 4 of those runs batted in coming off 1 swing of the bat, as Gonzalez hammered his 2nd grand slam home run in the past week, a line shot over the left-center field wall, turning on a 2-2 fast ball that flipped a 1-run game into what would become a 12-3 statement victory.
Sebastian, now 2-1 with a 1.346 ERA, followed that up with his best game on the mound this season, allowing only 1 hit, 0 earned runs, and striking out a season-high 13 opposing batters.
Sophomore Hunter Weber earned the 2-inning Save (the Eagles’ first of the season), striking out 1 and allowing no hits and no walks.
To cap things off for the evening in Newkirk, Hennessey Freshman Darren Lara pounded a 3-run inside the park home run for the Eagles Junior Varsity, with Cam Griffin getting the JV win in relief.
The Eagles (10-11 Overall, 5-5 District) move to 5th in Class 3A-1 with series against the district’s bottom two teams, Blackwell and Millwood, coming up this week. Game 1 with the Blackwell Maroons is this Monday night, with a 5 pm first pitch at Jack Funderburg Field.