BUCKLEY — For the second day in a row, the Buckley Dutchmasters erased a ninth-inning deficit.
Trailing 7-5 entering the bottom of the ninth inning of game two of the Eastern Illinois Baseball League Tournament championship series, Buckley rallied back with three runs to walk off with an 8-7 victory.
“Never say die — that’s kind of been our motto,” Dutchmasters manager Ryne Scheiwe said. “I’d take these guys over anybody any day of the week.”
The win gave the Dutchmasters (19-4) their fourth tournament title in five years and their 16th all-time.
“It’s nice to have the championship back in Buckley, for sure,” said right-fielder Drew Schrodt.
Once again, it was Cole Eshleman who drove in the game-winning run for Buckley.
In game one the previous Saturday, Eshleman hit an RBI single to help propel the Dutchmasters to a 6-5 win. On Sunday, he drew a walk with the bases loaded to send Schrodt home for the walk-off run.
“That’s just what good teams do. We have a lot of trust in each other,” Eshleman said. “Not for a second was anyone down in our dugout. We were fighting until the end.”
With one out and runners on the corners in the ninth inning on Sunday, Schrodt — who hit 2 for 4 while Eshleman went 2 for 3 — singled to center field on a 1-2 pitch to send Josh Krumwiede home. He advanced to second base, and Quinton Hatfill moved to third on the throw toward the infield.
“I was trying to put the ball in play,” Schrodt said. “That’s about the only thing you can do — to put the ball in play and hope to hit it hard and hope it gets through. It was awesome.”
After the Giants (14-9) intentionally walked Nathan Walker to load the bases, Trey Russell drew another walk to send Hatfill home to score the tying run.
“They got down some arms in their bullpen,” Scheiwe said. “You’ve got to make them throw strikes. That’s the first thing in baseball. They struggled a little bit on the mound, and we took advantage of it, and here we are. It feels good.”
An RBI double by Schrodt helped the Dutchmasters cut a 5-1 deficit to 5-3 in the bottom of the fourth inning.
“He threw me a fastball in a perfect spot, and I hit it down the line and got to second base,” Schrodt said.