Columbian starting pitcher Gabe Reyes had attempted a bunt earlier in the bat, but with one swing of the bat, Reyes sent the Truckers to a devastating loss.
Reyes' blasting RBI double into left field brought home the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning, lifting the Tornadoes to a 4-3 win in Sandusky Bay Conference Lake Division action on Monday.
"I thought he was going to bunt," Norwalk coach Wes Douglas said. "I know the way coach (Curt) Mellott plays. I am surprised they didn’t bunt. He had a couple hits against us in the first game."
Norwalk fell to 13-8 overall and 5-3 in the SBC Lake. Its loss, coupled with Bellevue's 5-4 win over Perkins clogs up the SBC standings. Perkins is 6-3 while Bellevue and Clyde are also 5-3.
Norwalk hosts the Pirates today in a resumed game that is now even bigger. It begins at 4:30 p.m. in the bottom of the fifth inning tied at 3-3.
"Columbian did not have much to play for, other than a little bit of pride," Douglas said. "They got it done. We competed and came up on the short end."
Tandon Lemmon walked after eight pitches to lead off the seventh inning for the Tornadoes (9-10-1, 4-5). Then, Carson Mellott bunted and Norwalk pitcher Justin Sommers opted for the play at second base. Lemmon was called safe, much to the disapproval of Douglas and his team.
Reyes then failed in a bunt attempt before lacing a shot that nearly reached the fence, scoring Lemmon for the win.
"When we got to the seventh inning, I was trying to think what made the most sense with where we were at in the order," coach Mellott said. "Gabe has been driving the bat really well."
The Truckers tied the game in the top of the sixth inning. Eli Obringer walked before Nate Adelman clocked his first home run of the season to tie the game. That came after a triple in the third inning.
"That is the kind of hitter he is," said Douglas of the sophomore. "He has been struggling for a while. He kept working on it and made a couple of adjustments."
Columbian jumped out to a 2-0 lead early. Mellott walked before Reyes reached on an error. Reyes stole second before Griffin Bunting connected on a two-out, two-run double off of Norwalk starter Nolan Flowers.
The Truckers got on the board first in the third inning. Garrett Obringer singled, went to second on a wild pitch, advanced to third when Eli Obringer grounded out, and scored on another wild pitch. Adelman followed with his triple, but was stranded there.
Reyes was strong on the mound for the Tornadoes. He allowed three runs on six hits, but struck out eight.
"Gabe really has done that all year," coach Mellott said. "He has been the bad-luck loser and I am proud of how he battled. When his pitches are on, he is a hard guy to pick up."
Sommers pitched five-plus innings, giving up two runs on six hits. He has come on strong for the Truckers down the stretch.
"We did not throw Justin a whole lot early in the year," Douglas said. "Luke Weaver was our No. 3 and he has been struggling. Justin stepped up against Huron last week and he did a nice job today. He is a bit of hard-luck loser there. He made a nice play on the bunt and threw a strike. Everybody in the ballpark knows he was not safe."
Norwalk 001 002 0 — 3 6 2
Columbian 201 000 1 — 4 7 0
WP: Myers; LP: Sommers
2B: (TC) Bunting, Kissell, Reyes; 3B: (N) Adelman. HR: (N) Adelman