Gilman junior Tom O’Neill singled home sophomore Matt Tilley in the bottom of the seventh to give the Greyhounds a dramatic 4-3 come-from-behind baseball victory over Loyola Blakefield on Thursday afternoon in Roland Park.
Playing under clear blue skies in picture perfect weather, the Greyhounds were trailing 3-2 with two down and none on in the bottom of the seventh when they got three straight hits to pull out the story book win.
Loyola’s Jimmy Crowley, who went the distance on the hill for the Dons, needed one more out to gain the win over the defending MIAA A Conference champs, when the Greyhounds struck like lightning.
Senior catcher Luca Simmons got a single to keep the Hounds alive, Tilley doubled to deep left to plate Simmons and tie the game at three, and O’Neill singled to left to score Tilley with the game winner.
“We started off with two straight outs and it was improbable,” said O’Neill, but I have faith in my teammates. Luca had a tough at bat, and got a good hit; Matt Tllley just killed one that really gave us some energy, and I got down in the count 0-2. He (Crowley) threw a couple of good pitches to me and fortunately he threw one up in the zone, and I was able to hit a grounder to left field and win it.”
Tilley said he was looking for his pitch. “I found it and drove the ball into left field, then Tommy (O’Neill) came up with a clutch hit.”
Simmons, who started the rally, said that it was a huge win for the Greyhounds.
Crowley, who held the Hounds hitless for 3.2 innings, had a four hitter going when Gilman staged the comeback.
Loyola grabbed a 2-0 lead on a two-run homer by Alec Sheetz off of starter Ryan Ripken in the second inning, and Mike Fafaul made it 3-0 with a solo homer in the third.
The Greyhounds got two in the fourth on a two-run single off the bat of freshman Gavin Sheets. Sheets drove in John Durham, who broke up Crowley’s no-hitter in the fourth with a two-out single ,and Quinn Cotter, who reached on an infield error. Both runners moved into scoring position when Crowley uncharacteristically balked.
“He (Crowley) threw me a real good curve ball at the beginning of the at bat, and I was looking for a curve ball when he threw me a fastball and I just hit it up the middle.”
Michael Dunbar took over for Ripken in the fifth and he held the Dons to a harnless single over three innings of work to get the win.
Dunbar said he was looking for the outside corner, and was just throwing strikes. Dunbar praised Crowley. “He really fought hard;he kept us off balance all day. He did a good job.”
The Greyhounds improved to 3-3 in the conference They will host Archbishop Spalding (5-2) on Friday afternoon.
Gilman 4, Loyola 3
LOY 020 100 0 — 3 3 1
GIL 000 200 2 — 4 7 1
Crowley and Pyzik; Ripken,Dunbar (5), and Simmons
2B: GIL-Tilley 2.
HR: LOY-Sheetz, Fafaul.