The Beverly Review
Tearing around the bases on a hard-hit Jack Payton double to left-center field in the bottom of the seventh, Br. Rice senior Kendall Pettis just knew he would score the game-winning run.
Well, that was the plan before a perfect relay nailed him at home to send the game into extra innings.
However, Pettis didn’t have to wait long for another chance at some late-inning glory.
In a tie game in the bottom of the ninth with two men on, Pettis blasted a 3-run bomb to left center for the walk-off winner in host Br. Rice’s crazy 9-6 victory on May 3 over Homewood-Flossmoor (H-F).
“I might have hit a walk-off before, but definitely not a walk-off home run,” Pettis said with a smile. “When he threw me out, I just thought ‘Oh, my God. I really needed to score there.’ Seeing everyone crowding in at home and throwing my helmet, that’s a dream come true.”
Pettis’ dramatic blast capped an exciting comeback for the Crusaders, who couldn’t get anything going for six innings against H-F starter Isaiah Coupet, an Ohio State recruit.
Br. Rice trailed 4-0 in the seventh but scored 4 runs to force extras. Trailing 6-4 in the eighth, the Crusaders again rallied with 2 runs to tie things up.
For a team looking to find some momentum heading into the home stretch, the Crusaders’ refusal to go quietly on an off day provided plenty of spark.
“This does a lot for us,” said senior Mike Bolton. “It gets us going. We’ve lost a couple games that we shouldn’t have, and this gets us back on the horse. Our confidence is through the roof right now. We’ve got to keep the same energy in Catholic League games.”