GARY | One word summarized Ethan Hancock’s day before his final at-bat: frustrating.
Frustrated that his team was losing after six and a half innings and frustrated that he was hitless going into his plate appearance with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Hancock was not frustrated after the game.
The junior outfielder hit a walk-off single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh and the score tied at 4 as Victory Christian edged Gavit 5-4 Saturday afternoon at U.S. Steel Yard in the McDonald’s RailCats High School Challenge.
”I just needed to find that pitch, and I found it,” Hancock said. “It feels really good to win, especially in the RailCats’ stadium. We need this to keep our confidence up.”
The fifth-year varsity program from the Association of Christian Schools improved to 3-1 in appearances at U.S. Steel Yard and more importantly moved to 5-0 for the season.
Gavit had scored three times in the top of the fifth to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead. Anthony Gibson’s go-ahead single followed two batters after Josh Lumbreras’ game-tying two-run single.
“We had the right guys coming up in the seventh, and I was confident we could put up at least one if we could get some steals,” VCA coach Ryan Bratcher said.
Calvin Reisinger singled with one gone in the seventh, then stole second and came in on Mac Price’s single. After a strikeout heightened the drama, Hancock had his moment.
Reisinger had the Lions in position to win with a dazzling pitching performance. The senior, who has played varsity since his eighth grade year (governing body ACS allows it; the IHSAA doesn’t), scattered nine hits and three walks and struck out four in a complete-game victory.
“He’s clutch,” Bratcher said. “He mixes his pitches well, and he knows when it’s time to throw a fastball by you. Guys have to earn their hits.”
Gavit (0-5), meanwhile, got a strong start from Brandon Brogdon for five innings but couldn’t close out their first late-game lead of the season.
“The guys played good baseball,” Gavit coach Tony Harris said. “We just couldn’t finish it off.”