LANSING | In case you haven’t been watching, T.F. South has been playing pretty good baseball of late, winning seven straight heading into Saturday's home game against Crete-Monee.
However that streak looked in jeopardy as The Times No. 5 Rebels headed into the bottom of the sixth with only two hits and found themselves on the wrong side of a 1-0 score.
But T.F. South (12-6) finally seemed to figure out Crete-Monee starting pitcher Brendon Hickey in the bottom of the sixth getting three hits to tie the score and adding three more in the seventh, including a run scoring single by Brian Seymour, to get the win 2-1.
The Warriors (8-8) jumped out to an early lead when first baseman Brandon Hannigan singled with the bases loaded to drive in Hickey and put Crete-Monee up 1-0.
Payton Juarez came to the plate looking to stretch that lead when he hit a rocket into center field but T.F. South’s Steve Stubitsch made an over the shoulder catch to end the inning and keep the Rebels in striking distance.
“Steve Stubitsch is a human highlight reel,” T.F. South coach Matt Tiffy said. “He is every bit of a baseball player, he’s just a grinder that goes out and gets the ball.”
After that the pitchers took over allowing a combined three hits over the next four and a half innings to set the stage for the Rebels' comeback.
For five innings Hickey was untouchable for the Warriors recording nine of his game high 13 strikeouts and handcuffing the Rebels.
“Hickey did a great job mixing his pitches and keeping us off balance,” Tiffy said. “I just told the guys to keep trying to work the count and looking for pitches they could put in play when they were up in the count.”
The strategy paid off in the sixth as the Rebels strung together three hits capped off by a run scoring double by first baseman Adam Locke to tie the score at 1-1 heading into the seventh.
In the bottom half of the inning the Rebels got a pair of singles from Cody Petrich and Stubitsch before Louis Reynolds walked to load the bases and set the stage for Seymour to play the hero.
“I didn’t really feel any pressure, I was actually pretty excited to be in this position,” Seymour said. “I’ve never had a chance for a walk-off hit in my high school career. I just told myself that if I saw a pitch I needed to put it in play and get it in the outfield.”
Down in the count 0-2, Seymour did exactly that getting a hold of a Hickey pitch driving it into shallow right field to bring the winning run home and extend the Rebels win streak to eight games.
“The guys have shown a lot of resilience during the win streak,” Tiffy said. “They play hard and grind it out, if we get behind they don’t die they just keep fighting and push it and good things happen.”