In sports, second chances normally come back to haunt the team giving them to the opponent.
But in the span of one at bat in the eighth inning, both Effingham Post 120 and Altamont Post 512 gave each other second chances. The game was tied at 6-6, with Altamont's Brandon Helmuth on second base and Aaron Goeckner at bat with two outs against Michael Woltman. Goeckner gave Effingham multiple opportunities to put him away, lining back-to-back pitches down the left field line just foul, giving Woltman and Post 120 second and third life. It looked like Woltman would take advantage, forcing Goeckner to pop up foul right of home plate. Woltman and Taylor Martin had some miscommunication, leaving Woltman to dive unsuccessfully for the pop up and give Goeckner another shot at the plate.He'd finally put an end to it, lacing a ground ball to left field, and Helmuth scampered home to win the game 7-6. "That's the crazy thing, you've got to play every play, every single throw, every pitch, you've got to run through every hit," said Altamont coach Jeff Fritchtnitch. "You never know. That's high school baseball at this level. We were fortunate to come out in the end."Helmuth's patience and baserunning paid off, walking with two outs and stealing second to set up the game-winning hit.Effingham looked to break the game open early, scoring three runs in the top of the first. Woltman grounded out with the bases loaded and drove in a run, and Swayde Sanders' fly ball was dropped by Nick Miller, allowing two more runs to score. Altamont answered right back in the second inning, scoring two runs on an Armstrong single, and Goeckner drove in a run to tie the game at 3-3. Woltman briefly gave Effingham a 4-3 lead in the third with an RBI single, only to have Altamont re-tie the game when Nick Miller scored on a wild pitch in thir half of the third inning. They'd keep the momentum going, when Armstrong reached on an error in the fourth and would come around to score on a Goeckner single. The game continued to seesaw from there. Effingham regained the lead in the sixth inning on RBI singles by Alex Bohnoff and Kevin Daugherty. The 6-5 lead would stay there despite Effingham's efforts, as Bohnhoff was thrown out at the plate to end the inning. Altamont rode the surge of the play at the plate, as Goeckner would drive in yet another run in the sixth inning to tie the game at 6-6. Goeckner was the star for Altamont, going 4-for-5 with four RBIs, including the game winner. "To come through with that big hit at the end, it shows the integrity of our guys," Fritchtnitch said. "I believe in our guys, and our guys believe in themselves and each other.Armstrong drove in two runs with a 1-for-5 game, and also pitched all eight innings. He allowed six runs (three earned), while giving up nine hits, three walks and striking out four. While the numbers weren't great, Fritchtnitch was proud of his pitcher for the 113-pitch effort on a steamy night. "We had a heck of a performance out of Ryan Armstrong," he said. "He did his job tonight. They're a good hitting team. They hit a few balls early hard because he left them up, but he had control (later)."Woltman went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, Bohnhoff was 2-for-5 with an RBI, Daugherty was 1-2 for an RBI and two runs and Sanders was 2-for-4 on the game. Daugherty pitched seven innings, allowing six runs (four earned) on seven hits. He struck out three. Woltman took the loss in 0.2 innings, allowing one hit and one earned run. Effingham goes to the losers' bracket, where they'll play at 9 a.m. Saturday. Post 120 must win three straight game to keep its season alive.Now, the fourth-seed Altamont takes on top-seeded Kinmundy Post 519 at 7:30 p.m. tonight. Altamont topped Kinmundy earlier this year, but Fritchtnitch knows not to put stock in the result."What you play early in the year is different than the baseball you play late in the year," he said. "I'm sure they're well improved just like we're well improved."
Effingham 301 002 00 6 9 3Altamont 031 101 01 7 8 3WP - Armstrong LP - Woltman
Effingham: Koester (1-5, R, SB); Bohnhoff (2-5, RBI, R, SB); Buhrmann (1-4, R); Daugherty (2-4, 2 RBI); Sanders (2-4); T. Martin (0-2, R)Altamont: Armstrong (1-5, 2 RBI, R, 2 SB); Helmuth (0-2, 3 BB, R, SB); Goeckner (4-5, 4 RBI, SB); N. Miller (1-3, R, SB); J. Miller (1-4, 2 R, SB); Winn (1-2, R, SB)