NEW ENTERPRISE - Oh what a difference a day made for the Northern Bedford baseball team.
On Wednesday, the Black Panthers played McConnellsburg in the first round of the District 5 Class A playoffs. They were down 5-1 after four innings when the skies opened up and rain wound up postponing the game until Thursday.
"It was a blessing," Northern Bedford coach Dave McIlnay said on Thursday after his team fought back to beat the Lions in nine innings, 6-5. His club will play this afternoon at Everett at 4:30 against Conemaugh Township in the semifinals.
"I thought we were pressing too much [Wednesday]," he added. "We came out fresh and played our best [Thursday]. It's definitely a sense of relief right now. It was tough, though. We have a lot of high hopes for this season and it took a definite gutcheck to come back in this thing."
Trailing 5-2, Northern Bedford (18-2) scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game up. Wes Foor doubled in one run, a Jake Frederick fielder's choice plated another, and Jake Stern delivered a double to score Frederick with the tying run.
Garret England, who led the winners with three hits, delivered a bases-loaded single with one out in the bottom of the ninth to score Eric Grace with the winning run. Grace finished with two hits.
Logan Fluke relieved Grace in the third inning on Wednesday and came back to pitch the rest of the game Thursday. He gave up no runs, one hit, struck out seven and did not walk a batter in getting the win.
"His location was great," McIlnay said.
McConnellsburg scored four runs off Grace in the second and one in the third for an early 5-0 lead.
MCCONNELLSBURG (5): Swope p-ss-2b 401, Appleby ss-p-ss 401, Crouse 1b 411, McQuade cf 311, Criste lf 310, Garlock 2b-3b 411, Wilson c 310, Deneen 3b-rf 300, Casher dh 200, Strait rf 000, Truax p 000. Totals - 30-5-5.
NORTHERN BEDFORD (6): J. Stern ss 412, Sollenberger cf 501, I. Stern 2b 400, Grace p-1b 412, Fluke 1b-p 201, Miller cr 020, Foor 3b 411, England lf 503, Furry c 400, Frederick rf 411. Totals - 36-6-11.
SCORE BY INNINGS
McConnellsburg041 000 000 - 5 5 3
Northern Bedford000 113 001 - 6 11 3
E-Swope, Appleby, Deneen, I. Stern, Grace, Foor. 2B-J. Stern 2, Foor, Appleby. RBI-Wilson, Deneen, Casher, Swope, J. Stern, Sollenberger, Foor, England, Furry. WP-Fluke. LP-Truax. SO-Fluke 7, Truax 1. BB-Grace 2, Swope 1, Appleby 2, Truax 1.
Records: Northern Bedford (18-2),