On This Date (April 18, 2009): Tigers win on Wehr’s HR
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Since May of 1999, the Times News Sports Department has featured an On This Date practically every day, highlighting an event that happened in the past. With the coronavirus putting a halt to sports, the On This Dates have been expanded to the stories that actually ran in the next edition’s newspaper. Today’s On This Date story is from April 18, 2009).
By Mike Haines
Down four runs heading into the bottom of the seventh is a tough spot for any baseball team. However that situation didn’t bother Northwestern Saturday.
The Tigers, which blew a four-run lead then made up a 7-run deficit, headed into their final at bat against Palmerton down 15-11.
The Tigers sent five batters to the plate in the bottom of the seventh and all five got on base and scored in a dramatic 16-15 win over the Blue Bombers.
The rally was capped by Adam Wehr’s three-run walk-off home run.
“There’s no better feeling in the world,” said Wehr after his game-winning hit. “We know when we start hitting, it’s going to keep snowballing.”
The Tigers’ Colton Breininger started the seventh with a line-drive single. Leadoff hitter Billy Dayton reached base on an error before Gio Fricchione knocked in a run with a line-drive single to make it 15-12.
Ernie Ruch knocked in another run when he reached base on an error that made the score 15-13 and set the stage for the game-winner.
Wehr, Northwestern’s cleanup hitter, came to the plate with no outs. He took an 0-1 pitch over the left field fence to finish the rally.
“It’s just unbelievable,” Northwestern head coach Len Smith said. “Adam Wehr has been on a roll this entire week. If he gets a pitch in his wheelhouse, he’s going to hit it a long way. He did that again today.”
The game was the third straight that the Tigers pulled out in the seventh inning. Wehr had a game-winning two-run home run against Notre Dame last week and the team beat Catty 23-20 in the seventh inning a day before the win over Palmerton.
Northwestern had a 4-0 lead after two innings, but Palmerton came back with five in the third and three in the fourth to take an 8-4 lead.
The Bombers pushed the lead up to 11-4 in the top of the sixth on a two-run double by Chris Lipfert.
The Tigers tied it in the bottom of the sixth when they sent 10 batters to the plate. The first four batters all got hits and the next two walked. It was 11-7 before Palmerton recorded an out. Kyle Cryer capped the sixth-inning scoring with a two-run homer that tied the game.
Palmerton answered in the seventh. The Bombers loaded the bases with no outs and pushed four runs home. Lipfert’s RBI single finished off the scoring to make it 15-11.
But the Tigers comeback would keep Palmerton from its first two-game winning streak of the season.
“This one hurts big time,” said Bomber head coach Tom Smelas. “We lost our focus.”
The game saw five home runs. Palmerton’s Matt Falcone and Christian Marcin each had one. Northwestern’s BJ Schantz had one, as did Cryer and Wehr.
Palmerton’s Lipfert went 3-for-5 with two doubles and five RBIs.
Wehr had a triple, a homer and four RBIs, capping a big week for the junior. He has 11 RBIs in the Tigers’ three straight wins.
The win puts Northwestern on top of the Colonial League West Division as the season hits the halfway point.
Palmerton 005 303 4 - 15 13 5
Northwestern 310 007 5 - 16 10 6
Falcone, Noyes (6) and Hahn; Fricchione, Bartolai (7) and Ruch. W - Bartolai. L - Noyes. HR: Palm - Marcin (2nd, none on), Falcone (4th, one on); NW - Schantz (2nd, none on), Cryer (6th, one on), Wehr (7th, two on).