Bald Eagle Area center fielder Trey Butterworth took a step in and started to doubt himself.
“Oh boy, I’m burned,” Butterworth thought.
Penns Valley’s Allen Cain had just connected with a 1-2 pitch, driving it to center field at Bald Eagle Area’s Doc Etters Field. The Eagles led by one run with two outs in the top of the seventh inning. The Rams had the tying run on second and the go-ahead run on first.
After watching Butterworth take that step forward in center field, Eagles coach Jim Gardner thought his team was in trouble, too. But Butterworth sprinted back and recovered to secure the final out, sealing Bald Eagle Area’s 6-5 win Thursday. In the moments after he caught it, the Eagles center fielder still had his doubts.
“I had to look down at it when I caught it because I didn’t think I could get to it,” Butterworth said.
Ty Walker allowed two runs and five hits in four innings of relief to earn the win for Bald Eagle Area (4-4), and Brandon Barnyak picked up the save.
Butterworth’s two-run single and Andy Swabick’s two-run double highlighted the Eagles’ offensive effort.
But BEA won the game on the base paths.
With the score tied 5-5 in the bottom of the sixth, Barnyak lined a one-out single to right field. Tanner Kresovich entered as a pinch-runner to allow Barnyak to get loose to pitch. Ryan Guenot followed with a double to right-center field to put the go-ahead run on third with one out.
Butterworth struck out, bringing Noah Chambers to the plate. In a 1-1 count, Penns Valley pitcher Keith Butts threw a wild pitch and Kresovich took off for home plate.
“It’s kind of funny because typically on this field with the short backstop I tell them, ‘No, we’re not going,’” Gardner said. “And I didn’t tell him, so he didn’t disobey me. He broke right away.”
Kresovich beat the tag to give the Eagles a 6-5 lead.
The Rams put pressure on BEA in the seventh.
With two outs, Bradley Musser drew a walk and Butts singled off of Walker. Gardner brought in Barnyak to get the final out.
“I just felt like he was tired, losing his location and at that point, there was not much margin for error,” Gardner said of Walker.
Cain was coming to the plate.
His two-run home run to left field in the first inning gave the Rams the early momentum.
This time, he sent a shot to deep center field, but Butterworth chased it down.
The Eagles center fielder also came through with a timely hit in the fourth inning.
With runners on second and third, Butterworth leaned out and poked a single into left field.
“I was joking with coach Gardner about my golf swing because I go golfing a lot in the spring,” Butterworth said. “I don’t know how I pulled that one out either, felt like a chip shot, like I was chipping between short and third.”
The two-run single pushed BEA ahead 5-3.
Penns Valley closed the gap in the top of the sixth.
Logan Johnson doubled to right-center field to start the inning and Butts walked on four pitches with one out. After a groundout, Chase Collison lined a single just out of the reach of Barnyak in left field.
Both runs scored to tie it.
But the Eagles made the plays to win the game.
“They did what they had to do,” Penns Valley coach Jon Bowersox said. “And we didn’t get it done.”