Eight-run rally lifts Wildcats past Panthers

Dylan Rodriguez slides safely into home during Delmar’s eight-run sixth inning. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

WOODSIDE — All it takes is one hit to spark a rally.

Luke Waters provided the hit that sparked an eight-run sixth inning rally for the Delmar High baseball team Friday night.

“We knew we needed a spark and we had to get each other up, but we just needed someone to start it,” said Delmar junior Ryan Nelson.

The big sixth inning allowed the Wildcats to erase an early four run deficit and defeat Polytech High, 8-4.

“If you put the bat on the ball, maybe some good things will happen,” said Delmar coach Dave Hearn. “That’s the best we’ve hit and that’s the best we’ve played so far. We’ve got three wins, but that was a good one.”

Trailing 4-0 through five innings, the Wildcats (3-0) sent 13 batters to the plate and recorded seven hits during the sixth-inning rally.

Waters’ leadoff double in the top half of the inning was followed by a Gabe Rincon RBI single to left field, breaking up the Panthers’ shutout bid and kick-starting the eight-run performance.

Andrew Callaway struck out four batters in his two innings of relief for Delmar.

“It was a 2-0 count, I was looking for a fastball there and I just put a good swing on it,” explained Waters. “Everyone just got on their feet, off the bench, and started encouraging each other and the hits just kept coming.”

The Wildcats collected 11 hits, with Nelson, Waters and Dylan Pasta each finishing with two.

The Panthers (1-1) collected seven hits, with senior Payton Lahman leading the way with two. Senior Jack Walker drove in a pair of runs.

Waters, Pasta and Dylan Rodriguez also finished with two runs batted in each for the Wildcats.

“Once it got going, everyone’s confidence rose and sometimes that’s all you need,” said Hearn.

Pitchers Nelson, Andrew Callaway, Rodriguez and Pasta combined for the win.

Nelson pitched the first two innings before Callaway relieved two innings and struck out four.

Sophomores Rodriguez and Pasta combined for the last three innings, surrendering two hits and no runs.

Dylan Gros pitched five innings and struck out six batters for the Panthers.

“The pitchers, we struggled, but they battled,” said Hearn. “Each pitcher came in and got us through. That’s four pitchers who did a good job on a tough day. They have a good ball club and we didn’t let them get away from us in the beginning.”

Senior Dylan Gros started for the Panthers, pitching a scoreless five innings before being replaced prior to recording an out in the sixth inning. He struck out six and surrendered six hits and two earned runs.

Nelson surrendered three Polytech runs in the second inning. Walker doubled in junior Christian Roberts and junior Justin Rivera and, two batters later, Lahman lined a double to left field to score senior Colby Gardner.

Polytech extended the lead to 4-0 in the fifth inning on a passed ball from Rodriguez.

Delmar collected just four hits through the first five innings before nearly doubling that total in the sixth.

Once Waters came around to score Delmar’s first run in the sixth, the floodgates opened.

“We have one power hitter, but we have a lot of guys who can hit — find gaps, hit singles,” said Waters. “Hitting is contagious, so we just hit all around.”

After Rincon’s RBI single, he came around to score on a passed ball to pull to within 4-2.

A few at-bats later Pasta came up to the plate with the bases loaded and drove in sophomore Julian Burdett and Callaway on an RBI single to knot the game 4-4.

Waters made his second at-bat of the inning by driving in junior Gavin Roystuart and Pasta on an RBI single to right.

Dylan Rodriguez capped the rally by driving in junior A’Lante Shepherd and Waters on a line drive to center.

“We were just hoping to get a couple base-runners, and then see if someone could work into the next pitcher — which we did — and then they just didn’t want to make an out,” said Hearn. “Ryan and Matt got a big hit, Luke had a great hit, and I thought we were aggressive on the base running, so it was a combination of things.”

Gros, Connor Bartlett, Austin Biddle and Christian Roberts combined on the mound for Polytech.

“For a very young team, we’re actually doing pretty good in our first week,” said Nelson. “We’re swinging the bat great, our coaches have been great and our pitching has been pretty good – except for this game. So, maybe a few struggles, but we’re hanging in there.”

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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