The Independence Patriots and the Myers Park Mustangs met Friday in an important Southwestern 4A baseball matchup at Jack Sink Field in Myers Park.
The Mustangs (10-7, 9-1) came away with an improbable 4-3, seventh-inning walk-off win over Independence to tie Butler for the conference lead. Patriots pitcher Cameron Allen was cruising along with a two-hitter entering the seventh inning when his defense suddenly let him down.
Trailing 3-1 entering the seventh inning, the first two Myers Park batters reached base on errors. Next up was senior Bo Owens, who smacked a single into center field for only the third Mustangs hit. The ball went through the Patriots centerfielder’s legs and rolled to the deepest part of the ballpark. Owens raced all the way around the bases and was safe on a bang-bang play at the plate, and the Myers Park celebration began.
“They definitely helped us out with those errors; we capitalized and made plays off of those errors, and that’s what gave us the win,” said Owens.
It has been a difficult week for the Mustangs varsity baseball team as coach Matt Burnett was relieved of his duties on Monday. Myers Park varsity boy’s basketball coach Wes Helper was named interim coach. Myers Park athletics director Richard Lewis told the Observer Friday that Burnett remains a faculty member at the school, and that Hepler will be the coach for the rest of the season.
Since taking over, Hepler is 2-0 including Friday’s wild win. “The first day out here I just kind of said let’s not focus on the outcome for right now,” said Hepler. “Let’s just get back to having fun, baseball, getting ready for the state playoffs and seeing how far we can ride this thing,”
“When I was rounding first I saw it go through his legs and I turned it on. I knew I was going home and I was going to try to win the game right there.” – Myers Park third baseman Bo Owens.
Allen took the loss for Independence but deserved a better fate, giving up only three hits in seven innings. ... The Patriots (12-9, 7-3) finished with four errors including three in the final inning, while the Mustangs had three miscues for the game. ... Justin Williams, Jarrett Thompson and Oliver Moore each had two hits for Independence. ... Pitcher Will Kobos picked up the win in relief for the Mustangs, giving up just three hits in 31/3 innings.
The Patriots will play next at Rocky River on Tuesday, while Myers Park travels to Charlotte Catholic on Monday.