Even the wisest of oddsmakers would have given Trevin Reynolds little chance to be a hero when the bottom of the seventh inning started Monday.
Shadow Ridge trailed visiting Palo Verde by three runs and had done nothing offensively against Panthers reliever Trevor Jackson. And Reynolds was due up eighth in the inning.
But an improbable rally and a bit of good fortune put Reynolds in an even more unlikely position, and the junior delivered with a single into right field that plated Eric Jordan with the winning run as the Mustangs walked off with a 6-5 win.
“I had no idea, no clue. I really didn’t,” Reynolds said when asked if he thought he would have the chance to deliver the winning hit.
The game appeared to be over when pinch hitter Mike Davis hit a would-be double-play ball to second with one out in the inning. The Panthers (8-12, 1-2 Southwest League) forced out Kyle Gaura at second, but the throw to first was in the dirt, keeping Shadow Ridge (15-9, 3-1) alive.
“We’ve been trying to preach to them about fighting all the way until the end,” Shadow Ridge coach Frank Tousa said. “It looks like they finally bought in.”
Koby Millner walked to put runners at first and second, and the Mustangs escaped defeat again when Tyler Burton’s grounder to third was misplayed to load the bases.
“We got a little lucky,” Tousa said.
A walk to Jordan allowed Davis to score and cut the deficit to 5-3.
“We just always have each other’s back and we believe in each other,” Reynolds said. “We never doubted ourselves. We just kept on fighting.”
Jake Wilson then hit a long fly ball to left field off reliever Tucker Thomason. The Mustangs appeared to have the game won when the ball went over the head of left fielder Zach Ortale, but the ball bounced off the warning track and over the fence for a double, tying the game 5-5. Jordan easily would have scored on the play, but was sent back to third, setting the table for Reynolds.
Reynolds took a close 2-2 pitch, before slicing the next pitch into right field and being mobbed by his teammates.
“I was just trying to see the ball and hit the ball,” Reynolds said. “It’s unbelievable. I got to experience the exact same thing in the summer, but because it’s our season, this is 100 times better.”
Reynolds also was the winning pitcher, tossing two innings in relief of Chris Opolka, who was cruising along until allowing solo home runs to Will Hamilton and J.D. Brooks in the top of the sixth.
“This just builds confidence going into another league game on Wednesday against Legacy and the second half of our league season,” Tousa said. “It was really important for us.”
Contact reporter Bartt Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5230.