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Baseball: Lions Walk-Off on Passed Ball in Ninth Against Knights, Dignazio Goes Seven Strong

Thirus Jones (7) is quick to embrace Mike Mowery (center) after the latter scores the winning run. Photo by Joey Gallo
Thirus Jones (7) is quick to embrace Mike Mowery (center) after the latter scores the winning run. Photo by Joey Gallo

By Coleman Hampstead

DUNDALK, MD -- For the second time at home this season, the Lions won a game in their final at-bat in odd fashion yesterday, defeating the Knights 7-6 at CCBC Dundalk Field.

Mike Mowery (Bishop McDevitt) scored the winning run when Knights' pitcher Handy Rodriguez's ball four throw against Myles White (Southwest Dekalb) got away from catcher Chase Montanez (East River).

Mowrey, who entered the game at first base in the top of the ninth, sparked a two-out rally with a single. He reached third base when Knights shortstop Ben Murray (Felix Verela) overthrew first base on a Parker Lenivy (Hereford) ground ball.

"We've been in that position a few times this year," said Lions head coach Kyle Campbell. "We're a team that tends to let our opponent get back in the game sometimes, but we are able to finish out the close games."

This loss comes tough to CCBC Essex (6-14, 2-7 Maryland JUCO), as they had the lead going into the bottom of the eighth and gave up both the tying and the winning runs on passed balls.

It also marks the tenth straight loss for the Knights after starting the season 6-4.

The game didn't look like it was headed for a dramatic ninth finish early on as the Lions carried a 5-1 lead up for most of the game.

A five-run eighth inning for the Knights was thanks in part to the bats coming alive, as well as a few Lions' errors.

The Lions (8-15-1, 4-5-1 Maryland JUCO) came back and scored a run in the bottom of the eighth inning to tie it before eventually walking off in the ninth.

With the win, the Lions have won or tied four out of its last five games after starting the season 5-14.

When asked if he thinks this will spark the team to move in the right direction, Campbell said, "Absolutely. We struggled a little bit early offensively, but guys have bought into the two-strike approach and we are starting to get our swings back on track."

The Lions jumped ahead early, taking 3-0 lead after two innings.

Starting Pitcher Shawn Dignazio (Kenwood) plated the first run of the game with an RBI ground out to score Jamie Naill Jr. (Winters Mill) in the first.

John Staab (Loyola Blakefield) followed with an RBI single to drive in Thirus Jones (Lyman) and the Lions were on top 2-0 after one.

Jones made an impact early, collecting two doubles, a run scored and an RBI in the first two innings.

Mitch Fyfee (Sharpsville) put the Knights on the board and cut the deficit to 3-1 with a solo homerun to right center in the top of the fourth. It was his second homer of the season and his team-leading 17th RBI.

The Lions responded in the home half of the fifth with a homerun of its own by Lenivy.

With two outs and on a one ball, two-strike count, Lenivy sent Knights' starter Victor Feliz's pitch over the right centerfield wall to give the Lions a 5-1 lead.

It stayed that way through seven innings.

Dignazio pitched seven innings, finishing with six hits, one earned run and two strikeouts. He forced Corey Lewis (Washington) to ground out with the bases loaded to end the seventh and his day on the mound.

"I wasn't going out that easy," said Dignazio. "My team wanted me to fight. I just had to work through it and get that last out."

With Dignazio out of the game, the Knights mounted its comeback effort with a five-run eighth inning.

The Knights reached base through hits, walks, and Lions errors in route to gaining its first lead of the game.

James Husar (Oxford) had an RBI double to score Luke Nakich (Archbishop Curley). It was Husar's second straight double of the game and one of only two hits for the Knights in the eighth.

Murray also drove in a run via a sacrifice fly that scored Fyffe, who led off the inning with a single.

The remaining three runs scored that inning on Lion's errors.

After eight and a half innings the Knights led 6-5.

The Lions tied it in their half of the eighth when White advanced home on a passed ball.

Mowery scored the winning run in the ninth on a passed ball with two outs.

"It's a boost," said Dignazio. "Anytime you can come back and win like that in walk-off style, it gets the team up and gives us momentum toward the next game."

The Lions will look to win its third straight when they visit Harford Community College today at 7:00 p.m.

Harford is 25-5-1 on the season and coming off a four-game win streak of its own. The two teams tied 15-15 when they faced off last week on March 30th.

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