If Wednesday’s game against rival Pioneer were a movie script, Skyline senior Alex Gerdenich would aptly fill one role: action hero.
The shortstop lashed a single to center in the bottom of the ninth to chase home fellow senior Will Eliason to seal a thrilling, 4-3, come-from-behind win that had the home crowd cheering for more as the curtain fell on a talented Pioneer squad.
The Eagles’ dugout emptied first to mob Eliason, whose slide easily beat the errant throw, and then they quickly chased down and surrounded Gerdenich near the pitcher’s mound to celebrate. The win took on extra meaning as Skyline avenged a doubleheader sweep at Pioneer only two days earlier.
Gerdenich did all he could to make sure the Pioneers went home disappointed. Not only did Gerdenich provide the game-winning hit, but the left-handed hitter also sent the game into extra innings in the bottom seventh when he launched a two-strike, one-out home run over the rightfield fence. His contributions also included five innings of scoreless relief after senior Dayton Stamper held the Pioneers to three runs over the first four innings.
But it was the bottom of the ninth that these Eagles won’t soon forget. First, Eliason started off the inning with a sharp single to left. From there, sophomore Ryan Gensheimer executed a textbook sacrifice bunt to the first-base side of the mound, moving Eliason to second. Gerdenich then wasted little time rapping his game winner to center, sending Eliason home and the Eagles soaring through the infield in a rush of celebration.
Earlier in the week, the Eagles ran into a buzzsaw of pitching at Pioneer. In Game 1, Sam Basset–Kennedy struck out 17 Eagles in Pioneers’ 8-1 win. The nightcap was more competitive, but the Eagles’ bats remained quiet in a 3-1 loss that was shorted to five innings due to darkness. Skyline freshman Robert Hamman took the loss in Game 2. Hamman went the distance, allowing three runs on seven hits with five walks and three strikeouts.
In the weekend set, the Eagles took one of two games from Ypsilanti Lincoln. In Game 1, Gensheimer picked with the victory in the 8-0 win. The sophomore struck out nine and gave up only two hits over five innings. Senior George Decker worked the final two innings to seal the win. Senior catcher Tim Clatterbuck led the 11-hit attack for the Eagles with two hits, two RBIs and a run scored.
Game 2 saw the Railsplitters come back with a vengeance. Lincoln took advantage of nine walks and seven hits to mercy the Eagles, 14-2, in five innings.
Skyline (8-7) hosts the state-ranked Saline Hornets on Monday. The conference foes are scheduled for a doubleheader at Skyline before the Eagles visit Saline on Wednesday for a single game.
Photo by Lon Horwedel