"All season long we've been getting kids on and not getting them in," Lincoln coach Jimmy Hill said. "Today was a little bit opposite of that."
Rebels score four runs in the seventh
The game almost didn't need extra innings. Lincoln held a 6-2 lead with one out in the top of the seventh inning. However, Boyle forced extra innings by scoring four times before Lincoln could retire two more batters.
Hart, the starter, walked leadoff batter Tyler Morris before striking out Brandon Record in the seventh. He gave up a double to Evan Teague, but Boyle coach David Camic held Morris at third. Andrew Bertram walked on four pitches, and Hart went 2-0 on Jamie Robinson before being pulled. Trevor Merriman came on and walked Robinson to force in a run and make it 6-3.
A fielder's choice off the bat of Andrew West forced Robinson at second but scored Teague to make it 6-4. Phillip Dean followed with a two-run double to tie the game.
Boyle's defense struggled from the beginning. Back-to-back errors to start the game put runners on first and second for Lincoln, and Logan Boyd's RBI single and Hart's sacrifice fly put Lincoln up 2-0.
In the second inning, Andrew Peek's single scored Ryne Tolar from third for a 3-0 lead, and Lincoln scored again in the third when Brad Cloud's throw to third on a sacrifice fly ended up in the Boyle dugout.
"We're not a real good defensive team"
"We're not a real good defensive team," Boyle coach David Camic said. "We can score some runs, and once we get our defense going, we'll be a real tough team to beat."
Boyle cut it to 4-2 on Jamie Robinson's two-run home run to left field in the fifth inning, but Lincoln added two more runs in the sixth on another Boyle throw into the dugout. Peek's grounder to shortstop was fielded by West, but thrown wildly into the Lincoln dugout. The runner on second scored, and the runner that was on first was ruled to have already rounded second and therefore was awarded home as his extra base.
That set the stage for Boyle's rally, but it wasn't enough for the Rebels.
"A lot of teams would have folded up after they came back," Hart said. "We kept our head up and we went out there and fought to win the game."
Bertram walked Matt Blair on six pitches to start the eighth before being relieved. Bertram threw 139 pitches in seven complete innings, striking out six and giving up four hits.
Teague came on and gave up a sacrifice bunt. He then intentionally walked Nate Rice to put runners on first and seond, and Brett Witte singled to load the bases. Boyd's chopper to Robinson was thrown home to force Blair, but Hart walked on five pitches to end the game.
"We didn't play well," Camic said. "Give Lincoln credit, they made us make mistakes."
Controversy in the seventh inning
The game was not without controversy. In the bottom of seventh inning, with the score tied at 6, Lincoln had runners on first and second with one out when Merriman sent a ball to short. West dragged second bag, but his throw pulled Robinson off of first. Field umpire Bob Baughman ruled it a double play and Boyle's players left the field.
Hill argued the call, asking Baughman to consult with homeplate umpire Mark Bryant. Bryant said Robinson was not on the bag, and the umpires called Boyle back onto the field, putting runners on the corners. Boyle didn't immediately return to the field, and Bryant eventually gave them a count of 10 to return before forfeiting the game. Morris stepped out of the dugout, followed by his teammates, as Bryant reached nine.
It didn't help Lincoln any, as after an intentional walk to load the bases, Tolar flied out to left field.
"Good umpires will get together and they'll make the right call," Hill said. "Dave doesn't feel that way, but we're all competitors. I'm going to see it one way, he's going to see it another. I respect his opinion, but I'm just glad it went my way."
Hart threw 92 pitches, but came away with a no-decision. He gave up four hits and five runs, but also struck out three and walked three. Merriman got the win, pitching 1 2/3 innings and giving up one run while striking out two.