Josh Brune raced home from third base with the winning run Wednesday night in the bottom of the seventh on a fielder's choice by Parker Zeser and the McIntire Heating and Air Conditioning squad earned a 5-4 decision in the final game of the loser's bracket of the Sandy Koufax League double-elimination tournament over Monroe Country Corner Deli at Worthman Field.
Brune, who had hit the ball hard all night long, slapped a solid single to right field to lead off the bottom of the seventh. He quickly stole second and then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Tony Busse. Even with the infield drawn in, Brune easily beat the throw to the plate for the deciding run of the game when Zeser topped a grounder to the left side of the infield.
The victory for McIntire's puts them into the championship game tonight at Worthman Field at 6 p.m. against undefeated regular season champ Erie Haven. Erie Haven defeated McIntire's 11-2 Monday evening. If McIntire's wins the 6 p.m. game tonight, a second contest would then be played 30 minutes after the opening tilt to determine the tourney winner.
McIntire's was cruising along in the game with a 4-1 lead having scored once in the first and fourth while adding two in the second; Monroe's lone run came on a misplayed ball to left field in the second. The Deli added a two-out run in the fifth and then made the game interesting in the sixth.
After the first batter Luke Liter got a reprieve when his foul pop up was dropped between third and home, he started the Deli rally with a single. He stole second and moved up on a single by Carter Sharp. Cody Crump made it 4-3 in McIntire's favor with a RBI single scoring Liter and Tanner Butler delivered a RBI grounder to tie the game with the bases loaded and no outs.
The defensive play of the game then occurred when McIntire catcher Jordan Amacker picked off a Monroe runner at third base. The next batter grounded out to second, which likely would have scored a run had the pick-off not occurred. Relief pitcher Patrick McBarnes finally got out of the inning by getting the third out on an infield pop up.
Both teams went scoreless in their next at bats setting the stage for the bottom of the seventh and Brune's winning run.
Zeser started on the mound for McIntire's and threw five innings. He scattered three hits and walked two while fanning three. McBarnes was the pitcher of record going the final two frames. Andy Oliver started for Country Corner Deli while Liter finished the final two innings. Both struck out two batters.
Eli Hill doubled in a run for the Deli in the fifth, one of two doubles he belted in the game. Brune also doubled in the first and later scored McIntire's first run in the inning.