The Deer Creek Shockers loaded the bases in the ninth and cut a 3-run deficit to one with two outs, however Alex Brockpahler induced a hard hit ground ball to end the rally, preserving the 4-3 victory for the Nimrod Gnats on July 5 in Nimrod.
Both teams used strong pitching, but it was Nimrod who came up with just enough offense to pick up the home victory over the Shockers. Stephen Funk’s three-run double with two outs in the fourth staked the Gnats to the lead.
It appeared that Scott Schroeder may escape the inning. The Gnats loaded the bases after an error and a pair of singles with one out. A hard shot ground ball to Jakob Bradsteen at third became the second out of the inning. However, Funk’s shot sailed over the right fielder’s head and rolled to the fence, clearing the bases for the Gnats.
The Shockers had chances throughout the game but could not push the runs across. They left 12 runners on base, seven of them in scoring position.
The Shockers cut the lead to two with a run in the seventh inning. Max Phillips drew a one out walk and came around to score on an RBI single from Bradsteen, which made it 3-1.
The Gnats picked up a key insurance run in the eighth inning. Aaron Funk led off with a double and eventually came around to score on a single by Luke Weniger, which was his third hit of the game. Weniger led the way for the Gnats with three hits, a run scored and a run batted in.
The insurance run played a key role in preserving the lead in the ninth inning. Phillips singled to start the ninth, but was erased on a fielder’s choice, which was followed by a walk to Zac Schertler and a single by Bradsteen to fill the bases. After an infield fly for the second out, Mike Blom followed with a single to score two, cutting the lead to one. A walk filled the bases, but Brockpahler induced a hard ground ball to short, which ended the inning and the game.
Nolan Coyle earned the win on the mound for the Gnats. He allowed one run on six hits over seven innings of work. He struck out two and walked one batter. Brockpahler earned the nail-biting save for the Gnats. He allowed two runs on three hits. He walked three batters and struck out one in two innings of work.
Scott Schroeder suffered the loss on the bump for the Shockers. He allowed three runs on six hits in five innings of work. He struck out two and did not walk a batter. Jayme George pitched three innings of relief, allowing one run on four hits, while fanning a batter.
Bradsteen and Mitchell Swanson led the Shockers with two hits each and each scoring a run. Zac Schertler, Blom, Schroeder, Colby Schertler and Phillips recorded hits for the Shockers.
Adam Johnson added two hits and a run scored for the Gnats, while Stephen Funk drove in three with one hit. Paul Funk, Aaron Funk, Coyle and Jackson Weniger recorded hits for the Gnats.
The Shockers return to the diamond with a Hi-10 clash against the Bluffton Braves under the lights of the Elmer Becker Field at 7:30 p.m. on July 10.