That final out turned into their last strike several times. Lucas Heaverlo, Austin Peterson and Jordan Baughman all stood in against Gonnerman facing a two-strike pitch several times.
“I lost track. It seemed like seven to 10 times we were down to our last strike,” Chariton head coach Jake Schroeder said.
Heaverlo, Peterson and Baughman all fouled off several two-strike pitches to keep Chariton’s season alive, then drew three-straight walks to bring in a pair of runs, Baughman, who took over on the hill for Charger starting pitcher Charlie Palmer in the fifth, drew the final walk on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded to tie the game at 3-3.
“I’m just so proud of my guys. They just kept grinding and they kept battling and they kept finding a way to stay alive,” Schroeder said. “It was just amazing. It was a heck of battle by two teams that were great rivals. At that point, you hate to see either team lose.”
After a long, dramatic seventh inning ended with Alex Wright’s fly out to center, this wild night took another surreal turn. With two on and two outs in the top of the eighth, Centerville coaches and umpires suddenly ran out to right field to the amazement of a vocal crowd at Daugherty Field as a light bulb exploded overhead.
So before they could storm out of the dugout to celebrate in the 10th, Chariton players ran out to right to join Centerville players in the 15-minute delay to clean up the glass that was scattered across the field. With an added element of impending bad weather on the horizon, there was enough drama to last the rest of the night and possibly into the early morning.
“We really lucked out there with the weather,” Huisman added. “We were already being delayed because of the light. Had the weather come in, we may have gotten this in until after Midnight.”