Yeomen Strike Out John Carroll
In their first game after the Tucson Invitational in Tucson, AZ, the baseball team came out with a well-earned 9–8 win to mark their homecoming against John Carroll University in a high-scoring nail-biter.
After getting off to a hot offensive start, scoring four of nine runs in the bottom of the first inning, Oberlin eventually found itself down in the third inning. John Carroll sent an impressive seven runs to the plate in the third inning on seven hits, allowing the team to grab the lead 7–4.
Junior starting pitcher Kyle Dominy ran into a bump in the third, but senior co-captain Harrison Wollman came in for relief and put a stop to what seemed to be an endless inning. Though Wollman faced high stakes as he stepped up to the mound, he was able to stop John Carroll from taking complete control of the game.
Wollman knew it was a tough situation to step into, but said his trust in his teammates on the field helped him pitch more confidently.
“I just stayed focused on one pitch at a time,” Wollman said. “I had faith that the guys behind me were ready to make a play, which helped me trust my pitches more.”
The Yeomen took some of the momentum back in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring two more runs to make the score 7–6 in favor of John Carroll. Senior co-captain Brian Hemmert singled in the inning to bring in senior Colin Brown for the first run. Junior Justin Cruz then brought in the second and last runs of the inning on a sacrifice flyout to cut the deficit to one run. Cruz also extended his hitting streak to nine games.
The game remained 7–6 until the bottom of the seventh inning due to solid pitching and missed opportunities on both sides.
The three-inning stalemate ended when the Yeomen broke it open again in the seventh to regain an 8–7 lead. The runs came off the bats of first-year infielders Ian Dinsmore and Isaac Goldman, the latter of whom was the Yeomen’s designated hitter for the game.
Despite John Carroll’s big third inning, the Yeomen were never rattled and kept their composure down the stretch. Wollman said the team’s in-game focus was central to their success.
“Down a few runs early in the game, it was important that we didn’t get down on ourselves and let John Carroll continue to gain momentum,” Wollman said. “Our team did a great job of staying in the game when we were down, which is key when making a comeback like we did.”
The Yeomen found themselves in a tie ballgame when John Carroll scored another run into the top of the eighth inning on a Yeomen fielding error to knot the score at 8–8. A scoreless bottom half of the inning forced the Yeomen to rely on their pitching and defense to keep the game close.
Sophomore pitcher Milo Sklar, who entered the game in the seventh inning, pitched a 1–2–3 inning in the top of the ninth to keep the game tied and set the Yeomen up for the clutch victory.
Brian Hemmert led off the bottom of the ninth inning, knocking a single into center field. He advanced into scoring position due to a brilliant bunt down the first base line by Cruz. Senior outfielder John Evans then made solid contact, but a good play by John Carroll’s pitcher resulted in an out, making it two outs with a runner on second base.
Ian Dinsmore was due on the plate in a high-stakes situation, and he delivered on a 3–2 count and put solid line drive into right field, sending Hemmert home and sealing the victory for the Yeomen.
Dinsmore said practices, along with plenty of playing time, prepared him mentally for his high-stakes position in the game.
“The walk-off hit definitely felt good,” Dinsmore said. “I think the huge amount of time we spend talking and thinking about our approach at the plate really helped me stay relaxed and focused on what needed to be done, and having a lot of opportunities to play while in Arizona has definitely helped me feel more comfortable in the box. It was a great team win.”
The Yeomen are now on an optimistic two-game winning streak heading into conference play. They will face the Terriers of Hiram College in doubleheaders on April 9 at 12 p.m. and April 10 at 2:30 p.m.