PRINCETON — Everyone went home happy campers on the Princeton side at Prather Field Tuesday night.
Junior reserve Michael Camp hit a two-out, walk-off single to send the Tigers home with a 4-3 win. Jett Wedekind raced home from second with the winning run as Camp ran to first. He was then mobbed by his teammates for his extra-inning heroics.
“I was just hoping not to strike out. I told myself to watch the ball and hit it,” said Camp, who said he’s never had a walk-off hit like that before.
Of the show of approval by his teammates, Camp said it was “great they believed in me and then when it happened, they attacked me.”
The Tigers (7-7) scored twice in the first inning and rode that 2-0 lead into the fifth. Amboy’s Dallas Appleman lined a two-run hit off Tiger reliever Chris Brockman to tie the game at 2.
Camp’s eighth-inning heroics came after the Tigers failed to cash in a golden opportunity in the bottom of the seventh, trailing 2-1.
Wedekind and Isaiah Taylor laid down bunt singles before J.J. Vaccaro reached safely on an infield single to load the bases with no outs. Jake Reinhardt grounded sharply with a drawn-in infield, but the Amboy shortstop froze and got no one, Wedekind scoring the trying run.
Tyler Marvin lined out to center field, but Taylor was unable to tag up at third. With Caleb Dickens at the plate, Tim Taylor called for the squeeze with Isaiah Taylor racing home. Dickens attempted to bunt and fouled it off. It appeared Isaiah Taylor may have been able to successfully steal home.
“I think everybody knew it was coming. You’ve got to lay it down to try it, right,” Tim Taylor said. “We probably could have tried to steal home, but that would have been pretty risky.”
Dickens then was caught looking and Logan Wilde grounded out to short to end the Tiger threat and send the game into extra innings.
The Tigers also lost a scoring opportunity in the sixth when Dickens was called for obstruction after leaving the batter’s box and interfering with the catcher’s throw to third.
Princeton’s hitting was rather quiet on the day, with coach Taylor opting to try out the new supply of wood bats to prepare for this weekend’s Wooden Bat Tournament. In the sixth, the Tigers switched back to aluminum. While they had eight hits in eight innings, four came after the sixth inning, but only one left the infield.
“I strapped the guys hands by using the wooden bats. We were doing a lot of pop-ups instead of a lot of line drives we’ve been used to getting,” Taylor said.
Jake Reinhardt, the fifth pitcher of the day for the Tigers, was the winning pitcher. He followed starter Tyler Marvin and relievers Zach Friel, Brockman and Isaiah Taylor.
Tiger tales: The Tigers will face Mendota at 4 p.m. and host Hall at 8 p.m. Friday in the Wooden Bat Tournament at Kirby Park in Spring Valley. There will also be games played at Hennepin and Granville, continuing Saturday.
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