By Dylan Warda ‘22
IMG is a school that gets recruits from all over the country. Their team is full of top ranked guys committed to playing at the top colleges in the country and has two projected first-round draft picks in this upcoming draft. Their roster has more top ranked players than any other team in the country.
When we first heard we were playing IMG this season, it was a game that excited us. We had the chance to play the number 2 ranked team in the country. Getting a challenge like this is something we love.
Knowing how good of a team IMG is, our team talked about only one thing about that game – how we were going to win.
Nearly everyone I talked to, including my classmates and teachers, would tell us how we had no shot at winning. The only ones that actually believed we could win was our team, and that was all that mattered to us.
We all played travel ball and played against some of the top ranked guys in the country. We all knew we are every bit as good as them and they did not scare us.
In the days before the game, we heard who would be pitching against us. Their pitcher was a projected first-round draft pick and was the top-ranked left-handed pitcher in the country.
Everyone was excited to face him. We wanted to see the best; that’s what excited us.
Before the game, I could see some of the players trying to intimidate us. They would stare us down and all we would do was laugh at them.
Some IMG players were trash talking us before the game. They could not intimidate us with anything.
We were the home team, so we were on the field first. Junior Cole Van Assen got the start for the game and got to set the tone for the game.
The energy from our dugout was incredible from the very first pitch. Everyone on our team really wanted to win this game.
In the first inning, the second batter of the game for IMG, a projected first-round draft pick, hit a one-run homerun. This would be the lone run for the inning as Van Assen got out of the inning allowing no more runs.
We were held scoreless in the first inning, however, a deep fly ball hit by senior Jack Lausch off a 94 mph fastball showed everyone we came to play.
We tied the game up in the second inning, scoring one run off a single from senior Nick Daugherty. After we scored this run, I knew the game would be a dogfight.
The score remained the same until the fifth inning. IMG scored two unearned runs. Giving them unearned runs could have been deflating for us. We could have given up right there.
In the bottom of the fifth, Daugherty stole home, cutting their lead down to one. Later in the inning, Lausch scored two with a single.
This inning caused their pitcher, a projected first-round draft pick to be pulled mid inning. Whoever their new pitcher was, he was not going to be as good as their starter. We were up by one at the end of the fifth inning.
Senior Jacob Fenton was put in to pitch in the sixth inning. In this inning, IMG scored two unearned runs and would go up by one run.
We were held scoreless in the bottom of the sixth, and Fenton shut out IMG in the top of the seventh inning.
We were down one run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Senior Christian Holmes came up to bat with two outs, men on second and third.
Christian Holmes said, “It was one of those moments when you’re on deck and you know it’s going to come down to you, and in that moment, I just took a deep breath and smiled. I knew that I just needed to focus on my approach and seeing the ball and that’s exactly what I did.”
Holmes tied up the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs. There could not have been any more pressure on him and he delivered.
Fenton stayed in the game and pitched in the eighth inning and ninth inning. Fenton’s performance was one of the best I’ve ever seen. The toughness and confidence he pitched with in this situation was incredible.
Fenton said, “Every inning I went out there thinking just get one more zero because I knew eventually our hitters would get something going and win the game for us.”
Fenton held IMG scoreless in the eighth and ninth inning. He let up no earned runs pitching four innings against one of the best teams in the nation.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Lausch came up to bat with one runner on base with the game tied.
Lausch said, “I was just trying to get the job done and do whatever I could to help us win. That was a really cool moment and a huge win for us.”
Lausch hit a walkoff homerun against the number two ranked team in the nation.
I could not put it into words the feeling we had after we saw the ball go over the fence. We beat the number two ranked team in the country!
The feeling after the game was something I cannot describe. It was a very special moment for all of us and we were all filled with immense joy. This was a moment I will never forget.