GARDNER — In the bottom of the third inning of Thursday’s Gardner-South Wilmington Class 1A Regional, things looked like they were getting away from the hosting Panthers.
Leading by three runs at the time, Seton Academy mounted a spirited rally and took the lead against GSW senior ace Mike Goodwin before escaping with just a one-run deficit. In like fashion, the Panthers then took advantage of a little wildness by the Seton pitcher and answered with a five-run third en route to a 10-5 victory over the Sting.
GSW scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning to take the early lead. Cody Harvey walked to start the inning and then J.J. Medders was hit by a pitched ball. Goodwin then singled and the bases were loaded. Jeremy Kunz followed by reaching on an infield RBI single.
Chris Lardi reached on a fielder’s choice and a throwing error by the Seton pitcher allowed Medders to score and Goodwin came in on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Kaiden Hibler.
The game stayed that way until the top of the third when Seton used two walks, four hits, a hit batsman and a wild pitch to take a 4-3 lead.
“Mike did not have his good stuff tonight,” GSW coach Todd Grieff said. “I think the other dugout was loud and may have gotten into his head a little bit. Still, he did what he needed to do to day to get the win.”
Goodwin said that he was having trouble hitting his spots in the third inning.
“Missing my spots was a big part of it,” Goodwin said. “I was not putting the ball where it needed to be. I think I was trying to guide it too much that innings instead of just throwing it.”
Goodwin did get a break in that third when right fielder Anthony Garrett threw out a Seton runner at the plate.
“That was big, because it was the second out of the inning and if he doesn’t make that throw, there’s still only one out,” Goodwin said. “That was pretty huge.”
GSW’s answer in the bottom of the third was a five-spot.
“We usually tell Mike that if we get him one run that it’s his game. That was a little curve thrown at us today,” Grieff said. “This season has been a roller coaster for us all year but the kids haven’t given up. That’s what they’ve done all year.”
In the GSW third, Kunz, Lardi and Hibler drew back-to-back-to-back walks to start things.
“Our scouting report told us that we needed to take a strike today,” Grieff said. “That’s how we went at it. You have to get guys on base in order to win.”
Garrett chipped in on offense with an RBI single and Brendon Elens then walked to force in a run. Dalton Wright reached on a fielder’s choice in which one out was recorded at the plate. However, a throwing error on the Seton catcher allowed two runs to score and Harvey delivered an RBI single.
The locals then added two more in the fourth with the key hit being a two-RBI single by Harvey. The final run came in the top of the seventh to account for the final score.
Seton Academy is eliminated with an 18-9 record, while GSW was able to raise the ‘W’ flag in center field after its 11th win of the year.
“It’s great, especially at regional time where you lose one time and you are done,” Goodwin said of getting to raise the victory flag after the game. “It’s great to get a win and to keep going.”