REYNOLDSVILLE — The Brookville Grays and Sykesville Senators finals match up has played out how many thought it would: A stellar defense (Brookville) versus a powerful offense (Sykesville).
"They're (Sykesville) a hard-hitting baseball club; unless you can keep them off their stride its going to be tough to keep them off the bases," said Brookville manager Bob McCullough.
Wednesday night, it would be Brookville's defense that prevailed, giving it a 5-3 win and tying the series at two apiece.
"The ability to repair is almost as important as the will to win," said McCullough.
Brookville has clawed its way back to a tied series after it was dominated in Game 1 (14-1) and out-hit in Game 3 (5-1).
"I keep looking back at how we got trounced that opening game but we played a lot better baseball in the last three (games)," said McCullough.
Two "Sportscenter Top 10" worthy grabs by left fielder Cole Cook kept the Senators from being able to generate offensive momentum. The first was in the second inning when he robbed Jonathon Weber of a home run and fell out of bounds in the process. The second came in the fifth when he made a diving grab on Jude Lander's crank to left.
"He's (Cook) had a stellar series of games for us thus far," said McCullough.
Brookville batted first and struggled out of the gate. McCullough switched the line up around, and Mike Sedor went to the plate first.
He flew out to center field to open the contest. Previous lead-off batter Rick Shaffer batted next, and he didn't fair any better. He grounded out 1-3 for the second out. Dan Walters wasn't able to get the offense going yet either, as he flew out to center field for out number three.
Ryan Gordon opened the Senators first at-bat in impressive fashion. He blasted a dinger over the right field wall near the 283-foot mark. His teammates were not able to piggy-back off his opening run. Jason Roman, Adam Fox and Kasey Clinton were all set down in order to end the inning.
The Grays improved when they took to the plate for the second time. Jed Fiscus was pegged by a pitch to start things off.
When he reached base, Zac Roller stepped in as a substitute base runner. Even though Roller never went to the plate Wednesday night, he made his presence known.
He came in as pinch-runner four times throughout the evening and stole four bases and scored a run.
Cook was the second batter to step up to the plate, and he popped out to second for the first out. Roller was on second after his steal, and Eric Painter advanced him a base, but was thrown out 6-3 for out number two.
Kent Shick approached the plate with two outs and drilled a clutch shot to center field to tie the game at ones. After that, Senators' pitcher Travis Menteer earned his first strike out against Dan Buzzard for the third out.
Menteer pitched a complete game, throwing four strikeouts, three walks and allowing five runs on six hits.
Sykesville did its best to spark a run in the second inning but the Grays defense proved to be too much for them to handle. Weber opened with a blast that was far enough for a home run over the left field fence, but Cook had other plans.
He robbed the homer as he was falling out of play. Grays starting pitcher Craig Hibell then walked Tom Hibbert and Jesse Cogan. Jordan Weinzeral batted next and grounded a ball to second that initiated a double play to end the inning.
Brookville grabbed its first lead in two games in the third inning. After a Joe Culler walk, Mike Sedor belted a single to left field. Shaffer then moved his teammates up a bag with his bunt that got himself thrown out 1-3.
The bunt proved to put Culler and Sedor just where Walters wanted them, as he drilled the ball to right field to bring both home. Fiscus stepped up to the plate next. While he was at bat. Walters stole second. Fiscus was then walked to put two runner on base.
While Cook was at bat, Walter stepped too far off the bag and was tagged out. The third out followed soon after, as Cook grounded out 4-3.
The Senators best offensive inning also came in the third. Jude Lander got the ball rolling with a single to left field. Gordon then advanced him a bag with his bunt, but it didn't buy him enough time before he could reach first.
Roman approached the plate next, and he tied the game with his two-run homer over the right field wall. After the game was tied, Fox came to the plate. He singled to left field but never made it any past first, as Clinton and Weber provided outs two and three, respectively.
The Brookville offense went down in order in the fourth.
Sykesville mimicked Brookville at the plate and went down three and out as well.
The Grays grabbed the lead again in the fifth. Culler opened with a single to right field. Sedor and Shaffer then provided outs one and two. Walters was sparked by some two-out lightning and smacked an RBI-single to give his squad the lead.
Walters had a good night at the plate, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two stolen bases.
Fiscus tallied the third out when he flew out to left field.
Sykesville struggled at the plate the rest of the game, only recording two more hits over the last three innings.
Brookville earned one more run with a game-sealing home run off the bat of Sedor in the seventh inning.
The Grays walked away with a hard fought 5-3 win, tying the best-of-seven series at 2-2.