John Bolton thought he had hit into a double play.
Instead, the Lipscomb Academy senior right-handed pitcher delivered a tie-breaking single, driving in what proved to be the winning run and keying a three-run seventh in a 5-2 win over Hume-Fogg in the District 10-AA baseball tournament.
Bolton (7-2) scattered seven hits and also went 3-for-3 at the plate, leading the Mustangs to a key victory over the Knights. It vaulted Lipscomb (16-10 into the winners’ bracket and left it just one win from a spot in the finals.
"With the count 2-2, I was looking for a fast ball,'' Bolton said. "When I hit it, I thought it was going to be double play, but somehow, the ball got through.”
On the mound, he struck out six and walked one in a 90-pitch gem.
"I didn't have my best stuff, but I got enough of the plate to get some key outs, and my defense was great, they made a lot of plays behind me,'' Bolton, a Trevecca Nazarene signee, said.
With the score tied 2-2 in the seventh, Wesley Culpepper and Carson Chaffin, the bottom two hitters in the lineup, were hit by a pitch and walked, respectively, with one out.
Bolton earlier had pounded a triple and double and scored the first two Lipscomb runs. Then bounced a single between the shortstop and second baseman. Each barely missed the ball as it rolled into center-field and scored Culpepper.
After a single by Alex Miller, Brian Delap laid down a perfect suicide squeeze that brought home Chaffin. A balk scored the third run.
"When they brought in the new pitcher Coach [Ernie] Smith said to be looking for the squeeze, and I was able to get it down,'' Delap, a junior center-fielder, said.
Asked about the win, Delap said, "It's huge. I means we get a day off, then we don't need but one more win to advance to the finals.''
The loss left Hume-Fogg (21-11) having to win a 7 p.m. game Tuesday against the winner of the Maplewood-Stratford game, which starts at 4:30 p.m., then needing two wins over Lipscomb on Wednesday to advance.
"We had some chances, and we didn't capitalize, and you can't afford to do that against a good team like Lipscomb,'' Hume-Fogg coach Cody Ginsberg said. "We've got a tough road ahead.''
Hume-Fogg scored both its run in the second when Robin Hood and Max Heeron singled, and Geoff Germino walked. Griffin Sullivent hit a sacrifice fly, and the second run scored on an overthrow.
Hard-luck losing pitcher Taylor Lockridge (6-3) allowed but three hits through six innings before he was pulled in the seventh.
Bolton’s triple came in the top of the first. A 20-minute rain delay followed.
"I wish we could have some spring weather,'' Smith said. "You look out there and see your pitcher's breath in the chill.
"[Bolton] was good, he didn't have his best stuff, but he made pitches when he needed to and got some good defensive support.”