The East Newton Patriots may have played their best game in the tenure of coach Seth Johnson on Tuesday.
Facing the Mount Vernon Mountaineers — ranked No. 10 in Class 4 — the Patriots fought back from a 7-6 deficit in the bottom of the seventh to win in walk-off fashion, 8-7.
Rocky Liveoak led off the seventh with a single and stole second before scoring the tying run on a single by Wyatt Hurn. Two batters later Dillon Bunch doubled to the gap in center to score Hurn for the win.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the boys tonight,” Johnson said. “I’ve been at East Newton coaching baseball for, I think, six years now, and I can’t think of another game where I had a group of boys play such a good game in an extreme high-pressure situation and play as well as they did tonight.
“It was a big time team effort. Everybody pitched in and took care of business and it was a huge, huge win for the program. I told the boys to enjoy it because they’ve worked hard this year and they deserved to win a game like that.”
Bunch’s hit not only won the game for his team, but also earned him a personal win on the mound, where he was the man of record after relieving starter Payton Powell in the fifth. Powell exited the game with a 5-4 lead after scattering six hits and five runs over 4 2/3 innings. Bunch surrendered the lead, but made up for it with his hit in the seventh.
Rocky Liveoak and Bunch both had two hits to lead the offense. Liveoak scored twice and Bunch had an RBI and two stolen bases. Hurn, Sam Swartz and Ryan Linton each had hits.
The Patriots (7-4, 1-1 Big 8) blanked Southwest 10-0 on Monday. Swartz got the win in that one after striking out four and allowing three hits in three innings on the hill. Bunch tossed three innings of relief with a strikeout and three hits.
Liveoak had two hits, two RBIs and two runs scored in the win. Swartz clubbed a homer and drove in three while scoring twice. Bunch had a hit, scored twice and added two RBIs. Hurn had a hit and scored once.
The Patriots topped Southwest in the B game 11-8 in five innings. Jacob Patterson was the winning pitcher with three innings of work, while Bryce Zimmerman and Linton each worked one inning.
The Patriots are at Purdy on Friday at 5 p.m. and at Aurora for a make-up game at 1 p.m. Saturday.