Baseball is one of those games where you can pile up runs, but you occasionally wonder if you have enough to win.
Monona may not have been thinking that Sunday when it entered the ninth inning against Poynette in Home Talent League baseball action at Ahuska Park. Kody Parman’s three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth gave the Braves what appeared to be a comfortable 10-2 lead. But Poynette wasn’t ready to pack its bags and get out of the summer heat.
The Indians scored four runs in the ninth and had the potential tying run at the plate before Monona finally shut them down in a 10-6 win.
Parman’s eighth-inning long ball was preceded by Zane McConkey’s leadoff single and starting pitcher Dan Genrich’s walk to put runners on first and second. The left-handed hitting shortstop then lifted a pitch over the 325-foot sign in right field to give Monona what appeared to be a comfortable lead heading into the ninth. Parman seemed surprised he hit the ball far enough to go over the fence.
“I worked the count to two-and-two, got a good pitch to hit and there she went,” he said. “I was following it down first base, and I knew it had a chance.”
Southpaw Genrich seemed to have things under control in the ninth inning as he struck out Aaron Krigbaum, walked Steve Leiterman but fanned Kyle Bestul for the second out. Yet, things fell apart as Leiterman scored on a passed ball, Cody Matush singled, Dylan Tomlinson reached base on a hit batsman, and Jalen Knuteson walked to load the bases for Anthony Mabrey, who also drew a base on balls to send Poynette’s fourth run across the plate.
Co-manager Vince Schmitz made a pitching change and went to veteran right-hander Zac Najacht with longtime Indian Davy Tomlinson coming to the plate.
“When you have Davy Tomlinson coming up, who is one of the oldest players in the league, going against Zac Najacht, who is probably the second oldest player in the league, it’s quite a match-up watching two old guys go at it,” Schmitz said.
Tomlinson reached base on an infield error, and Kody Ryan was safe on a fielder’s choice to put Poynette within 10-6 with the bases still loaded and two out. But Krigbaum ended the game with an infield ground out.
Monona got off to a fast start with a three-run first inning as Kian O’Brien and Schmitz pounded run-scoring doubles and Beau Goff rapped an RBI single. The Braves added another run in the second inning on Taylor Carlson’s bases-loaded single, and jumped ahead 5-2 in the fourth as Matt Willey led off with a single and later scored on O’Brien’s base hit. Genrich’s solo home run in the sixth and Jordan Carlson’s run-scoring double in the seventh gave Monona a 7-2 cushion.
Genrich earned the win for the Braves after allowing five hits and three earned runs in 8.2 innings.He struck out 10 and walked six.
“I was trying to establish my fast ball, and once they started seeing it a little better, I went into my off-speed,” Genrich said.
Schmitz said it was important to get a win over playoff contender Poynette after a July 4 loss to Rio.
“Poynette is going to be a playoff team. Our record against playoff teams is a tiebreaker, and we need to make sure we win against those teams,” Schmitz said. “This was a good pick-me-up.”
Monona had four errors, but outhit Poynette 14-4. Parman and Taylor Carlson both had three hits.
The Braves return to the diamond Friday at Eastern Section border rival Cottage Grove with the first pitch scheduled for 8 p.m.