CRESTVIEW — It was anotherCardiac Kidsadventure as Crestview High School’s baseball team hosted Milton on Tuesday.
Like many times throughout the season, the Bulldogs snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with late-inning heroics.
It took nine innings, but in the end, the Bulldogs pulled out a 4-3 win on a bases-loaded single by Tyler Henderson that scored courtesy runner Drew Graham.
“We found a way (to win),” Crestview coach Tim Gillis said. “It wasn’t pretty, but we will take it. We kind of battled and hung in there and had some good pitching performances out of the bullpen.
“We kind of manufactured something there in the ninth. I would liken it to resiliency. You don’t always like to wait late, but you want to have an opportunity to win it late, and that’s what we’ve been doing.”
The Panthers scraped together a 2-0 lead after three innings off Crestview starting pitcher Roman Donofro as early evening temperatures plunged into the low 40s.
But Donofro kept battling, and when he left the mound after the sixth inning, he had eight strike-outs to complement three walks while allowing three earned runs and giving up eight hits.
Donofro kept the Panthers close while the Crestview bats cranked up on the cold night.
The Bulldogs scored their first run in the fourth inning when Dakota Dean was hit by a Troy Smith pitch, leading off the inning.
Dean moved to second on a Henderson single and to third as Corey Armstrong grounded into a double play. Smith still had to face cleanup hitter Seth Thomason and Thomason drilled a pitch to right to score Dean.
The Bulldogs didn’t score again until the sixth inning. With two out in the inning, Justin Rebholz reached on an infield hit, and Armstrong scored on a Panther error on a continuation of the play. Armstrong had previously reached base on a fielder’s choice.
Crestview tied things up in the seventh inning when Tate Sweatt doubled with one out and scored as Donofro reached on an error.
Trent Zellars worked a scoreless seventh inning on the mound for the Bulldogs; Hunter Willis took over in the eighth, going the final two frames for the win.
Brad Hardison replaced Smith on the mound for the Panthers in the eighth and retired the Bulldogs before struggling in the ninth.
Austin Armstrong led off the inning with a single and was replaced on the bases by Graham. Walks to Sweatt and Justin Abdo loaded the bases. With two out, Henderson stepped to the plate and delivered the game-winning hit.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.