It had already happened once. And as the late innings came to the Washington vs. Dominion baseball game, it looked like it could happen again.
With senior right-hander Ryan Pansch delivering nearly all fastball strikes to the Titan lineup, Washington used its stolen bases and a six-run fourth inning to give him a seven-run lead.
Pansch was lifted after five innings where he had been touched for two hits and two runs, only one of which was earned.
It was what happened after he was removed that was reminiscent of Pansch’s other start. He had gone four innings against Musselman before leaving with a shutout and a four-run lead. Musselman won the game.
After Pansch left against Dominion, the Titans made a similar comeback . . . and left the game’s outcome very much in doubt.
It was only when a windblown fly to right field was caught with a tumbling move that Pansch had credit for his first win . . . because the Patriots had survived a major scare and had a shaky, 8-7, win.
Dominion had counted the game’s last six runs, but found Pansch’s 8-1 lead too much to fully dynamite in just two innings.
Washington stole eight bases in eight tries to augment its unusual offense which saw all nine of the starters each produce one hit.
The Patriots had 14 baserunners in the first four innings. But couldn’t get anybody aboard against two-inning reliever Hunter Boyd.
The productive fourth saw the Patriots score six times as Colin Gustines, Drew Hetzel, and Bryan Bayliss begin the telling rally with consecutive singles. Hunter Weaver and Kendell Smith had walks and Caleb Dan was hit by a pitch. There was a Dominion throwing error and Pansch had a sacrifice fly as Washington went ahead 8-1.
After Pansch was removed, Dominion had a three-run sixth against freshman Mark McGee. When three of the five men McGee saw in the seventh reached base, left-hander Jonathan Sadler was summoned. Sadler hit the first batter he faced. Next, Sean Stubbs grounded to Austin Larcomb at third, but a Titan runner beat the scrambling Patriot infielder to third and all hands were safe.
The situation was precarious. Score: 8-7 favoring Washington. Situation: runners at second and third and two outs. Next pitch: Rob Pugh send a high fly toward medium right-field. Hetzel wavers. The wind pushes the fly deeper. Hetzel reaches as high as he can. He makes the catch, and tumbles to the ground. Result: Washington wins, 8-7, and Pansch goes 1-0 on the season.