It was the bottom of the eighth inning. Visiting Berkeley Springs was up 5-4 courtesy of a sacrifice fly ball by Jared Spielman scoring Zach Wise in the top of the eighth.
East Hardy only need one run to tie it and send it to the ninth. East Hardy’s Brady Hinkle was up at bat. Bases empty.
Hinkle is a big boy.
And he put all his weight behind a fast ball from Tyler Holt.
As soon as it left Hinkle’s bat, everyone at the East Hardy complex in Baker, West Virginia knew it had a chance.
Wise, who was playing center field, started back to the fence.
And in East Hardy, starting back to the fence means running backwards – uphill.
Yes, uphill. The last twenty feet in the outfield at East Hardy is uphill to the fence.
So, up Wise went.
Running backwards – up the hill.
Curving to his left.
Crashing into the fence.
Up against it.
Reaching up, grabbing Hinkle’s home run ball to be.
And crashing into the advertising sign.
And bringing it down.
Wise’s spectacular catch saved the game.
Tyler Holt, who pitched another gem, got the last batter to ground out.
And the game was over.
Wise also had a two run double to tie the game at four – and scored the winning run off Spielman’s sac fly.
Berkeley Springs improved to 8-9.
They will play Clear Spring Wednesday night at Clear Spring, Maryland at 4:45 pm.