LUTZ — Steinbrenner rode a bumpy two hour long roller-coaster Thursday night but slithered past Strawberry Crest for a 5-4 victory thanks to Mijon Cummings’ two-run single in the bottom of the seventh.
“It shows the true character of our team,” Steinbrenner senior Gideon Dunn said. “It doesn’t matter what’s happening at the beginning of the game. What matters is the bond that we have as a team and our attitude that we aren’t going to lay down and let teams do whatever they want.”
Strawberry Crest (10-6) controlled every aspect for three solid innings. But Steinbrenner (10-2) rallied and Dunn took over on the mound for struggling junior, Brandon Johnson.
From there, Steinbrenner began its rally. The Warriors started to get runners in scoring position and tied the score at 2 in the fifth inning.
“I was able to control my slider and use it to the best of my ability. But more importantly was the great job by Will (Darnell) behind the plate and my defense backing me up from behind,” Dunn said.
But Strawberry Crest wasn’t done. The Chargers pressured the defense and got breaks thanks to the bad field conditions around first base, caused by rain in recent days. Steinbrenner once again trailed, and was forced to play catch up, after going down 4-2.
After cutting Strawberry Crest’s lead to one in the bottom of the sixth, the Warriors held their opponents one final time as they headed into the bottom of the seventh. Steinbrenner put runners on first and second on a single by Kevin Merrell and an intentional walk to Cole Gordon. And with no outs, Cummings stepped to the plate, swung at the second pitch thrown right down the middle, and drove the ball into the gap between first and second, hard on the ground. Merrell quickly scored, tying the score, but pinch-runner Jake Carroll decided to go for the win.
“I had to stay focused and just concentrate on the moment at hand which was getting a hit,” Cummings said.
Running directly behind Merrell, the rightfielder, having no time to position himself correctly, threw the ball above the catcher’s head, letting Carroll cross the plate as the winning run and giving Cummings the walk-off hit.
“It’s a great feeling. But now all I want is to do is win some more,” Cummings said.