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St. Paul's wild rally stuns Eagles

Mark Hazelwood • Updated Apr 10, 2018 at 11:03 PM

NORWALK — With his veteran team trailing 6-4 entering the bottom of the sixth inning, St. Paul baseball coach Jim Carper didn’t mince words.

“When we got together there, I told them, ‘you have six outs to show what kind of character you have,’” Carper said. “I told them that was all I could say to them, which is all I did say.”

Carper got his answer quickly.

The Flyers scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth, and trailing 11-8 in the seventh, plated four more runs for a 12-11 walk-off Firelands Conference win over visiting Monroeville Tuesday at Ike Lierdorff Field in Norwalk.

“We scored eight runs with those six outs — so that says a lot,” Carper said after his team improved to 7-1 overall (3-0 FC). “The attitude and character of these kids is unmatched.

“They care about each other, they care about baseball and they have fun doing it,” he added. “We found a way.”

Monroeville (0-3, 0-2), which lost at home to the Flyers by a 19-3 score in five innings the day before, jumped out to a 6-2 lead after the top of the fourth inning.

Gavin Eitle clubbed a two-run home run and a solo shot for the Eagles, while Austin Hanlon had three hits. Rickey Ringer singled an doubled, while Gage Blackford, Carson Hauler and Layne Zehnder each had two hits as well.

But with St. Paul down 11-8 entering the final inning, the Flyers quickly went to work.

A single after two Monroeville outfielders collided and a wild pitch sequence put runners on second and third. Leadoff hitter Lars Livengood then singled in both runners to make it an 11-10 deficit.

After a groundout and and an intentional walk to Luke Carper, who hit a three-run home run in the sixth, the go-ahead run was on base.

Another walk loaded the bases with two outs for Noah Good, who celebrated his birthday in grand fashion with a walk-off two-run hit to win the game.

Good finished his big day with two doubles, a solo home run and three RBIs. Luke Carper and Nick Lukasko also doubled, while Livengood and Kurt Maxwell each had two hits and two RBIs.

Also for the Flyers, Gavin Starcher had a solo home run and a single, while Scott Adelman had three hits and Zak Reed singled.

Reed got the win on the mound, pitching the final two innings. He allowed three earned runs on six hits with two strikeouts and two walks.

In the two wins over Monroeville, St. Paul finished with 31 runs on 30 hits in a 24-hour span in temperatures just above freezing.

“I’m very pleased with that,” Jim Carper said. “At 54 years old, I don’t think I’d want to go out there and try to hit a baseball. But the character of these kids, if you throw the ball across the plate, they will do what they can with it.

“I‘m very pleased with where we are right now, with being able to come back quite a few times already this year,” he added. “It just shows that these boys are on a mission, and it’s one game at a time. Monroeville always seems to play us tough. That’s just a given.”

St. Paul will have a third FC game this week, as it travels to Plymouth in a makeup game on Thursday. With the way Carper was able to balance his pitching, all but two kids are available.

“It’s unusual with the back-to-back scheduling, but I just feel like we were fortunate enough to spread the pitching out enough,” Carper said. “That’s something you have to think about now with the pitch count and number of games.

“So hopefully we come with our A game, because the last five games with Plymouth have been a one-run affair,” he added. “It’s never easy there, either, it seems. We have to be ready to play.”

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