A scene from the West Springfield/ South County thriller at Tugwell’s Field on April 29.

Last Monday night, West Springfield squared off against their archrivals the South County Stallions in an epic showdown. The Spartans were also playing for a noble cause, raising money for Pediatric Cancer for the Kyles Camp Children’s Hospital Foundation. The money earned for the cause was just icing on the cake for the 10-9 thriller at Tugwell’s Field.

The Stallions got off to a strong start in the top of the 1st, racking up 5 runs and they would only increase their lead in the innings that followed. The Stallions reached their peak at the top of the 6th with an 8-1 lead, but that would be the prelude to their downfall in the bottom of the 6th. West Springfield began chipping away at the lead, they scored one run, then another and another. Before anyone could think twice, the Spartans managed to score 8 runs to give them a 9-8 lead.

Through a combination of hitting doubles and singles, as well as scoring on a few errors, South County’s lead simply disappeared. But that wasn’t the end of it, the Stallions still had other ideas. Spartans’ Senior Pitcher Alec Reilly was given a simple task to finish off the Stallions, at first things looked bleak. When Reilly got close to striking a few of the batters out, he failed, giving up 2 singles and only one out. These two singles and a double tied the game up at 9-9 in the top of the 7th. In the bottom of the 7th, disaster struck for the Stallions.

Spartans Junior First basemen Peter Bellinger started things off with a double. South County’s Junior Utility Pitcher Charles Miska, would then give up two walks which loaded the bases. Senior Outfielder Justin Nelson came up to the plate next and he didn’t hesitate to throw in the dagger. After one ball, Nelson took one swift crack at the ball, knocking in the game-winning run off a single.

Despite knocking in the winning run, Nelson humbly credited the whole squad for the win, “As great as it was to make the game winning score, this was a team win,” he asserted. Nelson also added that there was no panic in the dugout, “We always believed we could win, we never gave up.” That same sentiment was expressed by HC Jason Olms, “We always play with confidence, this isn’t the first time we came from behind to win,” adding that, “We knew playing against them would be a dogfight.”

The Spartans now 9-8, also have a strong record in the district which bodes well for their playoff chances. “I hope this shows that we’re capable of beating anybody no matter what,” Olms said after the game. West Springfield continues the season with 3 games remaining against Woodson, Lake Braddock and Robinson, the gauntlet has been thrown for the Spartans. But after tonight, they proved that they still got a lot of fight left in the tank.

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