Johns Hopkins walks off into winners bracket

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By Jim Dixon

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Tim Kutcher's 10th-inning double brought home two runs and sent the team streaming out of the dugout as the Blue Jays walked off with a 7-6 win over the Babson Beavers in the third game of the opening day of the D-III World Series at Perfect Game field at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Johns Hopkins moves into the winners’ bracket and faces the winner of tonight's final contest in Saturday’s late game, scheduled for 7:45 p.m. Babson will play in the third game on Saturday against the loser in an elimination game at 4:30 p.m.

The celebration began as Tim Kutcher hit second base and James Ingram slid across the plate head-first with the winning run. 
Photo by Steve Frommell,

"It was an exciting game to say the least," said Johns Hopkins coach Bob Babb. "We battled back a few times. This team never gives up and every game someone different steps up and does the job."

Babson struck first in the tenth inning. Matthew Valente was walked by the Johns Hopkins starter, Josh Hejka. Hejka was lifted for Preston Betz and on his second pitch, Nicholas Brown sent a ball deep to left that cleared the short fence and the outside wall to the street passing the stadium to give the Beavers a 6-4 lead.

Johns Hopkins got one run back right away in its final turn at the plate. Chris DeGiacomo tripled to right center and was plated by AJ King with a sac fly. A flyout to left brought the Blue Jays down to their final out but Mark Lopez singled and James Ingram reached on a throwing error by the Babson third baseman, setting up Kutcher's game-winning hit.

"Baseball is a funny game," said Babson coach Matt Noone. "Things come around and go around. We have walked a lot of people off and I give Johns Hopkins credit. They battled to the last pitch."

Babson and Johns Hopkins matched each other for the first five innings with neither gaining an advantage. The Beavers and Blue Jays traded zeroes except for the third inning when each team plated a run.

In the top of the third, Babson's Connor Gill was called safe on a tag play with one out. The umpires conferred and went to the replay, Nothing they saw could overturn the call so Gill was safe on a throwing error by the third baseman. On second following a stolen base, he scored on Jake Oliger's safety to left that bounced out of the diving fielders glove.

Johns Hopkins matched that run with one of its own. Mike Eberl walked for the second time in the game and swiped second base. His thievery allowed him to score on Chris Festa's single to right.

James Ingram's shot into the left field stands gave Johns Hopkins life in the bottom of the seventh. The homer, the team's 81st of the season, set a program record.
Photo by Steve Frommell,

Babson took the lead in the sixth in a comedy of errors. It was not funny for the Blue Jays as the Beavers scored three times with two outs, aided by four miscues.  Babson made quick work of Johns Hopkins in their half of the sixth, keeping their 4-1 lead.

Johns Hopkins got back in the game in the seventh on one swing. Ingram blasted a shot into the Plumbers porch in left with King standing on first base with his third single of the game.

The momentum from the seventh carried into the eighth for Johns Hopkins as they scored a single tally to knot the score and erase the damage done in the sixth. With the bases loaded, DeGiacomo's slow roller to the Babson shortstop allowed for him to reach before the throw, moving the runners up one base, including Eberl who score the tying run.

Both teams had a chance to win the game in the ninth inning. Babson's threat ended with a double play and Johns Hopkins left a runner on third following a strikeout and flyout to center.

DeGiacomo and King both had three hits for Johns Hopkins with Festa adding two. Thomas Lapham, Brian McHale and Oliger had two hits for the Beavers. Eberle and Ingram scored twice for the Blue Jays with Browne scoring twice for Babson. Browne, Kutcher, and Ingram had two RBIs.

Hejka pitched into the tenth inning, allowing five runs, one earned, on nine hits. He walked two and struck out eight. Betz earned the win in his 0.1 innings. He allowed one run, earned, on two hits. He struck out one. Tyler Bell, the Babson starter, pitched 6.2 innings. He allowed three runs, all earned on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Max Tannerbaum took the loss. he pitched the final 0.2 innings and was charged with three runs, one earned on three hits.