Baseball: Knights Fall to Plant in Extra Innings

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Photo Isabel Hanewicz

In the top of the first inning, Matthew Steckel ('16) readies to bat. Steckel's RBI double in the top of the seventh drove in the Knights' fifth run of the night.

Bailey Adams, Sports Editor

It took less than an hour and a half for Robinson (12-6) and Plant (15-5) to get to through the first five innings on Thursday night. One hour and three innings later, the Panthers came away with a walk-off 6-5 win, avenging last year’s season-opening loss to the Knights.

Robinson took a 5-2 lead in the top of the seventh, scoring four runs on two hits, a walk and four Plant errors. The fourth run of the inning came on an RBI double by Matthew Steckel (’16) who was then stranded at third to end the inning.

The Knights’ inability to drive Steckel in proved costly in the bottom of the seventh when Florida commit Connor Scott (’18) hit a two-out three-run home run to tie the game. The next batter struck out, but the damage had been done and the game headed to extra innings. In the bottom of the eighth, A.J. Hubbard (’17) led off with a double before advancing to third on a wild pitch. One batter later, he scored when Brock Fagler (’18) put the ball in play to give Plant a 6-5 win.

“I’m proud of our guys,” Robinson head coach Kevin McCray said. “[Plant] is a very good 8A team and we put ourselves in a position to win the game. It’s not easy to close out good teams.”

Michael Tini (’16) got the start on the mound for the Knights, pitching six-plus innings while allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits while striking out three. Before his game-tying home run, Scott started on the mound for the Panthers. He allowed four runs (one earned), pitching into the seventh.

“I like the way [Tini] battled,” McCray said. “He gave us a chance.”

Plant took a 1-0 lead in the third on an RBI groundout by Alabama commit John Shields (’17) before the Knights tied the game in the top of the fourth on an RBI groundout by Mitchell Tozian (’16). The Panthers then took a 2-1 lead in the fifth on an infield single by Shields before things got wild in the seventh.

The Knights will resume a game with Blake at 1 p.m. on Saturday (their game was postponed with Robinson leading 5-0 in the third on Wednesday night). Following the conclusion of that game, the team will shift focus to next Tuesday’s game at Jesuit (15-4).