WARDEN — Wade Visker’s prime objective was to make enough contact to score Holden Haworth from third base.
Visker launched a towering fly ball that fell behind the Royal outfield. Officially scoring a triple, Haworth easily made it home, Kaden Skone went from first to home and Visker touched them all in a walk-off inside-the-park home run to beat Royal in 11 innings 7-6.
“I was just trying to hit a pop fly, ya know? Trying to get my runner on third to tag up ... so I was just looking for something I could drive and it happened to go in the gap,” Visker said. “I just kept on running and coaches kept on waving me on.”
Warden’s dugout exploded onto the field while the Royal players looked on in shock as their two-run lead vanished with one swing of the bat.
It’s a shame this series was played so early in the season. The Cougars took two of three, but every contest was decided by two or fewer runs. Tuesday’s thriller could have gone to either side multiple times.
“We hit the ball well all game,” Warden head coach Travis Visker said. “And then towards the latter part of the game we got our people in positions where we needed to be and then we just had base-running mistakes. We got a little over aggressive when we needed to and kind of ran ourselves out of about three innings there.
“The thing I preach with these guys is I want your best and don’t you ever quit on me because I’m never going to quit on you guys.”
Warden didn’t quit.
Neither did Royal, for that matter.
The Cougars had a shot to walk off earlier with the bases loaded and no outs in the seventh inning.
Rodrigo Ozuna stole home plate to tie the game 4-4 and, after an intentional walk, Julian Egia stepped up to the plate with a chance to win the game. Instead, Egia lined into a double play and Kaden Skone was caught stealing home for the elusive triple play to force extra innings.
Egia responded with 5 2/3 innings of relief, allowing for Visker’s late-game heroics.
“It kind of takes the wind out of your sails for a second, but you’ve got to regroup and you’ve got to come back and keep fighting back,” Travis Visker said. “The game’s not over at that point. We did what we had to do. We tied it up that inning and we were able to just keep battling and come back and eventually get the win.
“My hat’s off to Royal City. They don’t quit either.”
R 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 — 6
W 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 3 — 7
Warden highlights: Wade Visker 3x4, 1 R, 1 RBI; Ryan Arredondo 1x3, 1 R, 1 RBI; Holden Haworth 1x4, 1 R, 1 RBI
Royal highlights: Sawyer Jenks 2x5, 2 R, 2 RBI