Usually it is The Dalles Wahtonka using late heroics to capture wins – Hermiston turned the tables on Tuesday.
Austin Kopacz smacked a bases-loaded, walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning to lead the Hermiston Bulldogs to a 7-6 comeback triumph over the No. 8 Eagle Indians Tuesday in Columbia River Conference baseball play in Hermiston.
With one out, Sean Smith reached on a single, Jesus Rosales then laid down a sacrifice bunt, but a miscue by the TDW pitcher put runners on second and third base.
Camran Pollick received an intentional walk to load the bases for Kopacz, who roped a 1-1 pitch to drive in the winning run.
Things looked rosy for TDW early on, as it broke the game open with three runs in the top of the first inning.
Nolan McCall chased home leadoff hitter Kaci Kiser with an RBI double and the next batter, Clay Copper, drilled a 2-2 pitch for a two-run single to plate Connor Mathisen and McCall to make it 3-0.
The Tribe would add a single run in the second frame to lead 4-0, and but the Bulldogs cashed in a pair in the home half of the second to make it 4-3.
Austin Wilson and Mathisen added RBIs in the fourth to run the count up to 6-3, and had the bases loaded with two outs, but couldn’t inflict any further damage.
From that point on, TDW managed one walk and no hits.
Hermiston tied it up at 6-all with a three-run rally in the bottom of the sixth, and the score stayed true until the fateful eighth.
Justin Sugg led TDW’s seven-hit attack with a 2 for 4 effort from the plate, and Copper had a hit and two RBIs.
Hunter Malcolm, Bartells, Mathisen, Kiser, Wilson and McCall each scored runs.
Mathisen picked up the loss in relief, as he made it through 2 1/3 innings and gave up one run on four hits.
Malcolm, the starter, and Bartells, the middle reliever, allowed six runs, three unearned and combined for 5 2/3 innings of nine-hit ball with four walks and one strikeout.
At noon Saturday, TDW (11-5 overall, 2-1 league) heads to Pendleton for a league doubleheader.