CHARITON — The Chariton Chargers baseball team boasts a 4-3 record with all four wins coming at home. And, astoundingly, all four wins have come in walk-off fashion.
The last two walk-off wins came in a doubleheader sweep of ninth-ranked (2A) Albia Friday afternoon. The Chargers won game one 2-1 in nine innings, squeaking out the victory after Nate Hoeger was beaned by a pitch with the bases loaded. Relief pitcher, Brendan Woods, singled in the winning run with one out in the bottom of the eighth to give the Chargers the 9-8 win in game two.
Game one was a classic pitchers' duel. Albia’s Victor Sanders and Chariton’s Charlie Palmer each threw eight innings and only gave up one run. Their performances might be overlooked because of the way the game ended, but that would be a crime.
“Vic did a great job and was part of a phenomenal game,” said Albia coach Boyd Brittain.
Sanders only surrendered five hits and had eight strikeouts. Palmer had nearly the same good pitching line for Chariton. He scattered nine hits and gave up only one unearned run while striking out five.
“I’m throwing the ball harder than last year and I don’t think I lost too much velocity late. I think my curve ball was pretty good, especially early,” said Palmer. “I maybe could have finished, but my arm would have been really tired for the next game.”
As good as the game was, there were a number of plays that you don't witness in a typical game. There were two runners picked off at first, an illegal slide call and the Chargers had two runs cross the plate that were wiped out.
Albia took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth. The lefty Palmer, who had already picked two Blue Demons off first, gave up an unearned run in the top of the inning. Jacob Lenger’s single to left scored the run. Sanders’ first five innings were even more impressive. He allowed only Austin Ritenour’s double in the second, providing the Chargers with their first chance to score.