Turner’s unbeaten record was on life support Friday.
Somehow, the Trojans found a way to keep it intact.
All it took was an unlikely fifth-inning outburst, several fortunate breaks and a steely sophomore who managed to put out a pair of late-inning fires in a wild 12-11 Rock Valley Conference baseball win over visiting Edgerton.
“Throw away the film and take the win and move on to the next one because everything on there is ugly,” Turner coach Jeff Clowes said.
The two rivals combined for 25 hits and 12 errors in a game that lasted about two and a half hours.
The Trojans (9-0, 7-0 RVC) had outscored opponents 73-16 entering Friday’s game. But the Crimson Tide (6-3, 5-3 RVC), fresh off consecutive wins over Clinton, held a six-run lead through their half of the fifth.
“Until you find your guts, you don’t know what you have,” Clowes said.
“The last few years, we’ve had some success, but every team hasn’t just been able to come in and steamroll. They’ve had to find themselves. It’s been a crazy game like this or a game we’re not supposed to win. Every year there’s a quirky game and hopefully this is one to give these guys some momentum and give them that belief.”
Edgerton collected 16 hits and scored multiple runs in four different frames, but couldn’t find a game-tying run despite loading the bases in the sixth and putting two men on in the seventh.
“I feel like we gave one away,” Edgerton coach Mike Gregory said. “This field was brutal. You saw it on both ends with 12 errors in a game between two good baseball teams.
“We had chances to come back but couldn’t get the job done.”
Trailing 11-5, Turner plated seven runs in the bottom of the fifth—all with two outs and all coming after Edgerton center fielder Mason Simmons made a brilliant, over-the-shoulder catch near the fence to take extra bases away from Drew Ries.
Eight straight Turner batters reached base before Preson Viens turned a 3-2 pitch from reliever Skyler Gullickson into a fly ball to right field. The ball deflected off the outfielder’s glove, three runners scored and the Trojans celebrated an unlikely 12-11 lead.
“Our two-strike approaches were better,” Clowes said. “That was the pattern of that inning. We fell behind in the count but we didn’t give in. We found ways to put the ball in play and force them to make plays.”
But Edgerton came right back, loading the bases with no outs in the sixth. Clowes gave the ball to Grant Revels, a sophomore making his first varsity pitching appearance.
The left-hander induced a pair of fly outs, the second of which turned into a 9-2 double play when right fielder Cory Walker ran down a ball near the foul line and threw home to catcher Kyle Hanaman, who tagged out a sliding Sam Veitch.
“It was perfect execution on their part, but it was still a bang-bang play at the plate,” Gregory said.
Revels gave up a leadoff double to Jaden Johnson in the top of the seventh before wiggling out of danger again. The Crimson Tide had runners on second and third following a sacrifice bunt, but a pop-up to third and a strikeout ended the game.
“This is one of our first games where we’ve had a good back-and-forth game,” Revels said. “This is the type of game we like to have.”
Ben Wileman went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI for the Crimson Tide, while Jaden Johnson was 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two RBI. Veitch, Gullickson and Drew Hanson each had two hits.
Wileman drove in two during Edgerton’s four-run fourth. Veitch’s sacrifice fly put the Tide up six.
“If you didn’t care who won, it was a great game,” Gregory said.
Drew Ries and Keegan Marquardt led Turner with two hits apiece. Jack Sharlau drove in three runs.
The Trojans play a home-and-home series with Jefferson on Tuesday and Thursday next week. The Crimson Tide will do the same against Brodhead/Juda.
BELOIT TURNER 12, EDGERTON 11
Edgerton 203 420 0—11 16 6
Turner 122 070 x—12 9 6
Rusch, Gullickson (5); Viens, Draeving (4), Revels (6)
Leading hitters—Gullickson (E) 2x5, Johnson (E) 3x5, Wileman (E) 3x4, Hanson (E) 2x5, Veitch (E) 2x4, Ries (T) 2x3, Marquardt (T) 2x3. 2B—Gullickson, Hanson, Johnson 2, Wileman, Ries, Sharlau (T).
SO—Rusch 0, Gullickson 1, Viens 3, Draeving 3, Revels 1. BB—Rusch 0, Gullickson 2, Viens 1, Draeving 1, Revels 1.