Both Gautier (now 1-1) and Resurrection (now 1-1) had their offenses going on Thursday, but the Gators eventually prevailed 10-9 in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Eagles opened up the scoring in the first inning when Elijah Watts grounded out, scoring the game's first run. Resurrection would add two more in the inning to take a 3-0 lead into the home half of the first.
Gautier evened things up when Junior Catcher Skyler Roberts blasted a three-run bomb over the right center wall against Resurrection starter Hayden Cooksey. Cooksey would then go on to pitch four shutout innings and striking out four batters until the Gators were able to chase him from the bump in the sixth inning with a masterful string of six runs facing a 9-3 deficit. Daniel Colon, Roberts, and Justin Thomas all managed multiple hits for Gautier.
Freshman Lars Saunders started the game for the Gators, allowing seven hits and seven runs through five innings, striking out five along the way. Senior Cameron Gainer threw one and one-third innings in relief out of the bullpen, giving up two runs on four hits. Joe Scarborough, Collin Young, Kolin Thompson, and Watts each had multiple hits for Resurrection, with a team total of 11 hits on the day.
With the score now tied 9-9 in the bottom of the sixth inning and the bases loaded and one out for the Gators, the Eagles once again turned to their closer Elijah Watts to try and stop the bleeding. Watts was able to come through in the sixth, striking out the next two batters in succession.
The top of the seventh inning saw Gainer load the bases with one out when Gautier turned to Eighth Grade phenom Kaden Irving on to come in and shut the Eagles scoring threat down. Irving allowed zero hits and zero runs over two-thirds of an inning, forcing a ground ball back to himself where he was able to cut the runner down at the plate for the second out of the inning. He then followed up with a bases loaded punch out to keep everything knotted at 9 and preserving the Gators chance to win it in the bottom of the seventh.
Watts again came out looking to shut Gautier down and send the game into extra innings, but the Gators had other plans. A leadoff single by Thomas got the inning going, and Junior Drake Thornton was in to pinch run at first representing the winning score. Colon followed with a beautiful bunt down the third base line, just inching its way fair for an infield hit. Sophomore Brodie Clayton was subbed in to pinch hit for Cartez Turner. Clayton laid down another beautiful bunt, beating the throw from Watts out to first base to load the bases with no outs. With Senior leadoff Dalyn McDonald in the box, no outs, and Thornton just 90 feet from the win, McDonald showed bunt once again. Thornton took off for home as the pitch was being delivered. As the catcher dropped the pitch and scrambled to pick it up, Thornton hammered it home, knocking the ball to the backstop and knocking out the Eagles for the walkoff win. Watts took the loss for Resurrection, officially allowing two hits and one run over two-thirds of an inning, striking out two and walking zero.
The Gators are set to play again Saturday (2/23) on the road at Foley, Alabama, for a Varsity double header before a hosting a pair of big home stands on Monday (2/25) against arch rival Pascagoula in a highly anticipated matchup, followed by Vancleave on Tuesday (2/26) in The Swamp. There will be a JV Game at 5 and a Varsity Game at 7 for both, as always pending the weather. Stay up to date by following Gautier Baseball at @GautierBSB & @PGSD_Athletics (Twitter), GautierBSB (Facebook & Instagram).