Benway provides late heroics to keep Parker rolling

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John Barry
Tuesday, April 22, 2014

In a season in which they’ve yet to taste defeat in the Big Eight Conference, the list of heroes continues to grow for Janesville Parker’s baseball team.

Tuesday afternoon at Riverside Park, it was Mitch Benway’s turn.

The senior delivered an RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift Parker to a 6-5 win over Madison West.

Parker (7-1, 6-0) trailed 5-2 in the fifth but scored single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh to force extra innings. Junior right-hander Logan Coulter threw six scoreless innings of relief to keep the Vikings in the game before Benway ended things with two outs and the bases loaded in the 11th.

“I think this team grew up a little bit tonight,” Parker coach Brian Martin said. “We did some things tonight we haven’t done all season—and not in a good way—but still found a way to win.

“You’re going to have games like this during the season, but instead of finding a way to lose it, we found a way to get out of here with a win.”

Parker trailed 5-4 in the seventh but tied the game on Zach Bailey’s two-out RBI double. Connor Osmond scored on the play when he ran through Martin’s stop sign from the third-base coaching box and beat the throw to the plate.

Coulter did not allow a hit in six innings of relief, and he was aided by two diving catches from center fielder Hunter Yerke and left fielder Richard Burkheimer that kept West off the scoreboard.

“We had some kids step up today that haven’t had a lot of playing time,” Martin. “It’s great to see them produce and get a chance to contribute to our success.

“And I can’t say enough about the job Logan did in relief. He didn’t allow a hit, and when he had to, made some big pitches.”

With one out in the 11th, Brennan Olin singled. He advanced to second on a passed ball and eventually moved to third on a walk and Will Theisen’s infield single. Benway, who had struck out his two previous at-bats against West reliever Simon Rosenblum-Larson, then laced a single to right to score Olin with the winning run.

“He’s one of the better pitchers in our conference,” Martin said of Rosenblum-Larson, “but our kids kept battling. Mitch didn’t look very comfortable his first couple of bats against him, but with the game on the line, he was clutch.

“This would’ve been a tough one to lose because we left a lot of runners on base (12). Fortunately, like we’ve done all season, we got some clutch hits when we needed them.”

Parker plays at Verona on Thursday.

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