His first three hits were no doubters, but Blayke Cutts’ fourth hit on Thursday was a high bouncer over the glove of Olney third baseman Peyton Billington to win in a walk-off.
Cutts, who went 4-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs, put the ball through the infield to score Caleb Brumleve for Cumberland’s game-winning run, 4-3, in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Brumleve, who made a spot start on Thursday, began the rally with a one-out single, followed by Sam Bauguss, who laced a single into left field. Brumleve and Bauguss both advanced an extra base on the play when the ball bounced off of the leg of the outfielder.
After a strikeout, Holden Elwood stepped to the plate and quickly fell behind Olney reliever Tryston Runyon with two strikes. Elwood took four straight pitches to walk the bases loaded.
“Holden fought himself out of a good hole,” Cumberland head coach Troy Elwood said. “He got our next guy up in a positive situation.”
Elwood at least extended the game, which was something Olney couldn’t do after tying the game in the top part of the inning, 3-3.
The Tigers had runners at second and third base with one out in the seventh. Ryan Eagleson struck out and Troy Houchin grounded out to end the inning.
Cutts pitched a complete game on the mound, surrendering the game-tying run on a throwing error by Elwood at catcher. He gave up eight hits in the win.
“He was getting a little tired there at the end, but he gutted it out,” Elwood said. “I told him we had to go one more time and get a hit. His bat came up and a few guys did some clutch things in front of him.”
Cutts was the sixth batter in the inning against Runyon, a fresh reliever. He also had a double and a single to accompany his third-inning home run.
The Pirates took a 2-0 lead after the first inning on a two-run double by Cutts. His solo blast in the third inning regain a two-run advantage, 3-1.
Olney scored one run in the third inning, on a groundout by Billington, whose RBI double in the fifth accounted for the Tigers’ second run. The Tigers scored in the sixth when Elwood tried throwing out Runyon at third base, advancing on a passed ball.
“We knew Olney was going to be tough, coming in here,” Elwood said. “We knew we would have to buckle down and possibly win by one. These kids keep finding a way to win.”
Cumberland returns to action at 4:30 p.m. Monday, traveling to play Casey-Westfield.
Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Olney 001 010 1 3 8 3
Cumberland 201 000 1 4 8 4
WP - Cutts (7 IP, 8 H, 3 R, BB, 9 K) LP - Runyon (2-3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, BB, 2 K)
Olney: Shan (1B), Kocher (1B, HBP), Billington (1B, 2B, 2 RBI), Zaber (2 1B, BB, SB), Eagleson (2B, SB), Houchin (1B)
Cumberland: Bauguss (1B), Swingler (1B), Elwood (1B, BB), Cutts (2 1B, 2B, HR, 4 RBI), Light (1B), Clark (2 BB), Brumleve (1B)