The Cambridge Bears and Johns Creek Gladiators played a key region game Wednesday night, March 29th, that both teams needed to win to stay in the playoff hunt.
Johns Creek had beaten Cambridge a few weeks earlier, so revenge was on the minds of the visitors. The teams went toe to toe with controversial plays, clutch hits and even more clutch pitching performances, and Cambridge escaped with a hard fought 3-2 victory. The win evened Cambridge's region record at 5-5 to keep them squarely in the playoff hunt.
Austin Weiermiller took the mound for the Bears and pitched a masterful game. The Bears offense put balls in play the whole game striking out only once on the evening. But early on they could not connect enough hits together to get on the board. Johns Creek struck first in the second inning via a single and an error. It looked like that lead might hold up as the Bears offense stranded runners in each of the first two innings, then went hitless in the next three innings.
Weiermiller was cruising along waiting for his offense to deliver, which it finally did in the sixth inning. Consecutive singles by Crew Cohoes, Michael Kolesar and Cameron Moore plated a run to tie the game at 1-1. A sacrifice bunt by Mitch Fleming and a sacrifice fly by Bradley Wiedman gave the Bears their first lead at 2-1 after six.
Ahead 2-1 going to the bottom of the seventh, all looked good for Cambridge as Weiermiller struck out the first two batters of the inning. But a couple of hit by pitches and an error tied the score. With two outs Kolesar saved the game on a spectacular diving catch on a line drive to short center to send the game to extra innings.
The game got tense in the eighth inning on a couple of controversial calls that kept Cambridge off the board. A single and a walk in the bottom of the eighth moved the winning run into scoring position but Weiermiller worked out of the jam by coaxing a couple of fly outs to Sam Waylock in right. Wiedman led off the ninth with a great 0-2 swing on a single to center. A Waylock sacrifice and a Jake Swiacki walk set up a Blake Renner double to left center to make the score 3-2. Cambridge threatened to add a few more but were left with a one-run lead heading to the bottom of the ninth.
Weiermiller came out to start the ninth but was replaced after an infield single in favor of Jake Swiacki. A sac bunt moved the tying run over and a hit by pitch put the go ahead run on base. But Swiacki came through via a groundout to Wiedman that moved the tying and winning runs into scoring position for the second out. A groundout to Renner at second ended the game and the dramatic victory.
Weiermiller got the win going eight innings, allowing five hits and an earned run with eight strikeouts. Swiacki earned his first career save closing out the ninth inning. Kolesar led the offense with two hits and a run scored. Swiacki and Renner both had doubles with Renner knocking in the game winner. Moore, Conner Young, Wiedman, Teddy Egan and Cohoes each had hits, while Moore and Wiedman each had key RBIs.
Cambridge continues region play with a home game at a new date and time against Pope. The game will be played Thursday, March 30th at 5:55 PM.