Fan Night at Gary Carter Field drew a crowd of students, who brought their enthusiasm as Redmen baseball (9-1) overcame a rough start to defeat the rival Concordia Stingers (3-4) 4-3 on Wednesday.
Starting pitcher Henry Dennis, second-year Arts, had a difficult second inning, hitting Concordia’s Daniel Paklarian and walking Alex Hall and Matthew Litwin to load the bases. He subsequently surrendered his only hit of the game—a left field double that scored three—to catcher Dario Vincelli.
Dennis showed excellent composure and contained the Stinger’s batting his next three innings. After facing eight batters in the second, Dennis faced only 11 more over the rest of his innings.
“I give a lot of credit to Chris [Stanford], my catcher, and the team staying focused and making plays behind me,” Dennis said. “That gave me the confidence to use my best stuff. The team really kept my head together.”
Acknowledging Dennis’s rough start, Head Coach Jason Starr said that the Redmen managed to limit the effects of the disastrous second inning.
“He gave us five innings and gave up three runs, which is usually enough for us, and it was tonight,” Starr said. “Henry [Dennis is] a guy who will battle for us, and he did that tonight.”
The Redmen got on the board in the bottom of the second inning when catcher Christopher Stanford led off with a triple and scored on first baseman Gabriel Hamilton’s RBI groundout to second. Hamilton drove in two more runs to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth, scoring Stanford and second baseman Sam Savoie on a left-field double.
Dennis left the game at the end of the fifth inning for reliever Jack Pantalena. A lead-off single and a dropped third strike allowed runners to progress to second and third bases with one out in the top of the sixth. Second-year Economics major Pantalena kept his cool, however, and struck out the remaining two batters to preserve the tie. In the seventh, he gave up a single before striking out the next three Concordia batters.
“I started my last game, so relieving was different,” Pantalena said. “But I talked to my catcher and I was able to hit my spots. We talked about who was coming up, I knew what I was going to throw and was able to execute.”
In the bottom of the seventh, with the game tied at three apiece, Emerson Dohm, pinch-hitting for designated hitter Camden Lawhead, led off with a single to centre. He was quickly lifted from the game for pinch-runner Zachary Aaron. Aaron advanced to second on a single, and to third when shortstop Louis-Xavier Labrosse grounded out to shortstop. Then, on a wild pitch, Aaron came home to win the ballgame—an exciting walk-off win in front of a loud, enthusiastic crowd.
McGill next plays away at the University of Montreal on Sept. 23.
Reliever Jack Pantalena recorded six strikeouts in two innings pitched.
“It was a good team win, everybody contributed. We just have to take things one game, one inning at a time, and it happened to work out today.” – Starting pitcher Henry Dennis
Moment of the game:
With the game tied and one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, pinch-runner Zach Aaron came home from third on a wild pitch to score the winning run.