I imagine every kid who played little league baseball envisioned himself getting the game winning hit in the last inning as a high school player. Well, last night Miles Kading got to fulfill that dream when his bases loaded, game winning single gave the ACGC baseball team a 4-3 eight inning win over Exira-EHK on the Charger home field.
What was undoubtedly Mike Ure's best pitching performance of the season enabled the Chargers to be in a position for Kading to pull off his heroics. The senior Charger pitched seven and two thirds innings and had given up only three hits until the eighth inning when the Spartans bats came alive with three consecutive singles. With the score tied at 3-3, the first single hitter was thrown out stealing by Charger catcher Ben Kingery for the second out of the inning. After two singles and a walk loaded the bases, Ure was lifted for Clayton Wardyn who struck out Trey Petersen to end the Spartan threat.
Charger mentor Taylor Morris had good things to say about Ure's performance. "We had a tremendous and gusty performance out of Michael Ure and he ultimately gave us the opportunity to win the ballgame. He did everything he could to help will us to victory and it was great to see that from him."
That set the stage for the game winner. The Chargers won the game in dramatic fashion when Avery Wheatley got on base by a hit by pitch to lead off the inning. Kingery followed with a single up the middle and Charlie Crawford also singled to load the bases. With one out, Kading hit a one strike, two ball count just inside the right field foul line to drive in Wheatley for the game winner. Joyful, joyful! Chargers win!
The game was nip and tuck all the way with the Chargers scoring a single run in the bottom of the first when Newell Rogers got on by an error, moved to second on a passed ball, and came around to score on an another Spartan error.
After Ex-EHK tallied two runs in the top of the fifth, the Chargers knotted the score at 3-3 in its fifth at bat. After Kading led off the inning with a base hit and stole second base, Ure moved Kading to third on a sacrifice bunt. When Noah Nelson got on by error it allowed Kading to score to make it 3-2. Nelson came around to score on a single by Rogers and a double by Bryce Litter to even things up at 3-3.
The rest is history. Scoreless sixth and seventh innings led to the drama of the eighth inning when both teams had opportunities to win the game. This time fate was on the side of the Chargers and the sweet taste of victory belonged to the home team.
About the dramatic finish, coach Morris said, "We came up big with some clutch at bats to get the bases loaded in the eighth. Miles has come to love those clutch situations as this was the second time this year when he drove in the game winning run."
Kading led the Charger hitting with three hits, while Ure came up with two. Littler's double was the only extra base hit for either team.
The win for the vastly improved team improves the season record to 5-22. This is from a team that started the season at 0-17, and has now split its last ten games. This observer would call that improvement. With the regular season now completed, the boys of summer move into tournament play, and will face county rival Panorama in the first round of district play on Saturday in Panora, with the first pitch scheduled for 7 PM. Go Chargers!
Game score by inning:
Ex-EHK 000 120 00--3 6 4
ACGC 100 020 01--4 9 2
Charger box score
Rogers 4 1 1 0
Littler 3 0 1 0
Wheatley 2 0 0 0
Kingery 4 0 1 0
Rumelhart 3 0 0 0
Crawford 4 0 1 0
Kading 4 1 3 1
Ure 2 0 2 0
Nelsen 3 1 0 1
Spack 0 1 0 0
Pitching: IP R H SO BB
Ure 7.67 3 6 3 2
Wardyn .33 0 0 1 0