MONTEZUMA - Every team has that one player they want at bat in a clutch situation. For the Montezuma Braves on Thursday night, that player was pitcher Owen Stewart.
Stewart hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning to give Montezuma the 7-6 win over Stuarts Draft.
“It’s pretty cool. The last walk-off hit I had was when I was 10 years old, so it’s been a while,” Stewart said after his game-winning hit. “I just wanted to put the ball in play and give them a chance to score so I’m glad I was able to get it through.”
The game went back and forth all night, with Montezuma leading for the majority of the game. The Braves scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning to take an early lead and put the pressure on the Dbacks.
Draft answered in the third with a bases-loaded walk and an RBI-single by Tyler Wilcher to cut the lead in half.
With the score still at 4-2 in the top of the seventh, the Dbacks sent four runners across the plate to take a 6-4 lead.
The Braves were able to tie it, but couldn't take the lead before the end of the ninth, and the already three-hour game went into extra innings.
The first pitch to Stewart in the bottom of the 10th brushed him off the plate and got away from the catcher, allowing Koice Quintinilla to advance to third. Stewart made contact on the next pitch, and the rest is history.
The Braves picked up their first win since June 14 with last night’s game.
“I think we’re feeling pretty confident, we’re starting to get the bats going, our pitchers are starting to throw strikes,” Stewart said. “We had a real rocky start, but we’re kind of used to it. It happened last year too. We know we’ll bounce back, it just takes time.”
Montezuma heads to Grottoes tonight to finish a 0-0 ball game in the top of the ninth before playing a regularly scheduled game against the Cardinals at 7:30.
Stewart won’t be with the team tonight, but he believes they’re on their way to turning the season around.
“I won’t be here this weekend, but I’ll be back next week,” he said. “I think we can win a few, get our record back to being something respectable and put us in contention.”