Daulton Frank was soaked after stepping on home plate when his teammates mobbed the Florida Atlantic infielder after hitting the walk-off, 2-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Pioneers to a 9-7 come-from-behind win over the Casper Horseheads Wednesday evening at Oregon Trail Park.
To Frank, it felt good, but Frank was quick to share the glory, giving Cade McGee plenty of recognition with the home run in the ninth inning that tied the game at 7-7. McGee also picked up the win on the mound in tossing just two-thirds of an inning.
“Honestly, Cade’s is a bigger home run,” a happy Frank said after the game. “We were down my one and he was down to his last strike and he battled. You know, he tied it up and that was a really big homer.”
What this year’s Western Nebraska team has shown all year is the ability to stay in games and that is what they definitely did Wednesday night.
“This is the type of team we are; we are never out,” Frank said. “We are always in it. That is the type of team we are.”
The Pioneers finished the game with game with 11 hits and of those 11 hits, six were extra base hits. The Pios finished with three doubles and three home runs in the game. Two of the home runs and one of the doubles came in the crucial ninth inning.
“We already had a lot, but this really helps. We are ready to go,” Frank said. “We have some guys that can hit, one through nine in the lineup.”
JT Waldon led the offense with a 3-of-4 game with a double, home run, two RBIs, and a run scored. Frank and Tyler Davis each had two hits. Frank had a had four runs scored with two RBIs along with a double and home run, while Davis had a double with a run scored.
The game was a battle between Casper and Pios from the get-go. Casper scored first in the second on a double by Jake Rainess to score Preston Joye for the early lead.
Western Nebraska came back to tie things up in the bottom of the second as Frank earned a walk. JT. Waldon then doubled and Frank scored on a wild pitch.
Casper regained the lead in the fourth with a single run as Brooks Browning doubles to score Cristian Lopez.
The Pios tied things up with a single run in the fifth as Frank is walked and scores with two outs to tie things up.
Casper came right back to plate two in the seventh to gain a 4-2 lead only to watch the Pios plate three in the seventh as Waldon led off the inning with a solo home run. Nathan Marroquin then reached on an error and Clay Cutter got a single to put two on. Marroquin scored on Eric Smelko’s single and then Cutter came I to score for the 5-4 lead.
Western Nebraska added another run in the eighth as Frank doubled and scored on a Waldon single for the 6-4 lead.
That set up the wild ninth inning. Casper plated three runs on two hits. The Horseheads received a 2-run single by Lopez while Jake Allen doubled for a 7-6 lead.
Western Nebraska knew they were down to three outs and they Casper pitcher Owen Vanthillo was throwing hard to get the win. He got the first two Pioneers to ground out and strike out for two quick outs. Cade McGee then had the biggest at-bat as he had a full-count and then took a pitch deep over the fence for the tying home run.
Davis followed McGee’s rope with a rope of his own to get a double. That set up Frank and his bit at bat. The first two pitches were strikes. Frank then got two balls and then fouled the fifth pitch off. The sixth pitch was the shot that cleared the yard in a hurry as Frank left the yard for the walk-off 2-run home run.
The two squads will be back in action Thursday for another doubleheader beginning at 6:35 p.m.
Frank said they can’t do anything different from what they did the past two nights. They have to keep hitting and pitching strong.
“We have to do what we did tonight, keep hitting,” Frank said. “The pitchers did well and they battled.”