Osburn puts an end to the 13-year losing streak with a 10th Inning walk-off triple.

Tad Couch, Journalist

The current Cape Central Tigers Baseball team had never experienced a win against the Notre Dame Bulldogs, from the Seniors to Freshman. However, the Tigers were highly optimistic heading into their matchup against the Bulldogs. Pregame, Senior, Adam Smith said, “It’s going to be a dang good game.”

This wasn’t any ordinary game for the Tigers though. Not only were they facing the Notre Dame Bulldogs who have kept them winless for the past thirteen years, but it was a charity game to support St. Jude and Tiger Junior Alex Powderly.

Powderly has been battling every day to overcome paralysis below the legs due to cancer that has formed in his spine. Powderly was honored at the game, where he threw the first pitch to his father, Timothy Powderly. Both of Alex Powderly’s parents have been by his side throughout this whole tough process.

The Tigers started their ace Kevin Robinson III on the rubber where he pitched a solid five-inning outing, only allowing three hits with two earned runs. Robinson struck out five, averaging one strikeout per inning.

The Bulldogs got off to a quick start, with a triple from Cole Lemons, who was batted in by Austin Gast. Lemons’ triple would go on to be the best Bulldog hit of the night. The offensive production by the Bulldogs, or lack thereof, put an end to the Bulldogs hitting all night.

The Tigers also got off to a quick start, with hits from Carter Crosnoe and Breyton Osburn loading the bases in the first inning, but the Tigers were unable to capitalize, leaving three men stranded on the bases.

The Tigers picked up their first run of the night in the third inning on an RBI single by Robinson. Courtesy runner, Cade Emmenderfer crossed the plate for the first time of the night.

Junior Wyatt Brinkopf entered the game in relief of Robinson in the top of the fifth. With one man on first, Brinkopf retired the first batter. Brinkopf was able to get out of the fifth inning with no damage.

The Tiger’s defense was rolling all night. With one out left in the fifth, first baseman Paul Kitchen made a quick, heads-up play while Notre Dame’s Noah Gadberry was advancing on an infield ground ball trying to steal a quick run. Kitchen gunned the ball to Crosnoe at home, who was able to tag Gadberry with plenty of time to spare.

Emmenderfer saw the base path three times during the matchup and made the most of every opportunity. In the fifth inning, Emmenderfer was busy on the bases, stealing second and then going on to catch Notre Dame pitcher Austin Gast off guard, sneakily stealing third. With his quick thinking, he was able to pick up the Tiger’s second run of the night, tying the game at two.

In the Tiger’s dugout, there was never a moment of doubt. Sophomore Samuel Cairns was the loudest Tiger’s ballplayer throughout the contest. Cairns’ favorite phrase throughout the game was, “You’re eating carrots,” This phrase was directed at the umpire whenever he would make a good call. The dugout was filled with optimism and hope and that momentum carried them all the way into extra innings deadlocked at two.

The ballgame was tied at two at the end of seven innings and stayed deadlocked all the way until the tenth inning when Notre Dame broke the deadlock. Notre Dame’s Blake Anderson tripled to start the tenth inning. With Anderson’s triple, the Bulldogs were hyped up for the rest of the inning. Following Anderson’s triple, Noah Gadberry hit a hard-hit ball that bounced in front of Cape Central’s right fielder, Morgan Diamond. Anderson made his way home to take one-run lead. Diamond made a fairly costly mistake, misreading the ball and letting it roll all the way to the wall in the right field. Luckily, Diamond was able to stay calm and he threw a bullet to the cutoff man who relayed it to third baseman Kevin Robinson III who applied the tag on Gadberry to secure the second out.

Although giving up back-to-back hits, Wyatt Brinkopf bounced back and retired the final Notre Dame batter with a K.

Heading into the bottom of the tenth, the Tigers knew they needed at least one run to continue playing. Senior Walker Daum, started the Tigers off on their tenth inning offensive tear. Daum hit a weak ground ball in the infield, but with his speed and effort on the base path, he was able to beat first baseman Grant James, before James could gather his fielding error.

The second Tiger to step up to the dish in the tenth was Wyatt Brinkopf. Brinkopf was coming off of a solid five-inning outing on the mound and was ambitious to help on offense. On the first pitch, Walker Daum was able to advance to second base on a wild pitch. With a 2-1 count, Brinkopf hit a soft ground ball to a Notre Dame middle infielder who fielded the ground ball but couldn’t beat the speedy Brinkopf. With Brinkopf’s single, he was able to advance Daum ninety feet further to third base.

Courtesy runner, Jackson Witvoet entered the game for the first time in the tenth inning to run for Brinkopf. With runners on first and third, Sophomore catcher Carter Crosnoe stepped up to the plate. Crosnoe didn’t wait long before hitting a solid ground ball to the infield driving in Daum from third advancing Witvoet to second. Although Crosnoe grounded out, he had the game-tying run and helped boost the Tigers’ momentum tremendously.

With a runner on second and only one out, Senior Breyton Osburn stepped into the batter’s box hoping to be the hero of the game. On the second pitch of the at-bat, Osburn jumped on a pitch by Notre Dame’s Gadbury and raked it to deep left-center field. Jackson Witvoet rounded third base, but Cape Central‘s Head Coach, Justin Lieser noticed Witvoet forgot to touch third base. Witvoet turned around, tagged third, and proceeded to sprint home.

Osburn won the game for the Tigers on a walk-off triple, snapping the thirteen-year losing streak to the Bulldogs. The Tigers swarmed Osburn dousing him in water and celebratory hugs. The Tigers played their hearts out and left it all on the field. The win was very deserving, but you can’t live in the past. There are always more games to be won.