Sweeping McIntosh in walkoff fashion

Starr%E2%80%99s+Mill+baseball+celebrates+a+walk+off+victory+against+McIntosh.+The+Panthers+mounted+a+comeback+down+4-0+to+secure+the+season+sweep+over+McIntosh.

Jenson Mahr

Starr’s Mill baseball celebrates a walk off victory against McIntosh. The Panthers mounted a comeback down 4-0 to secure the season sweep over McIntosh.

Dylan Bayer, Staff Writer

Starr’s Mill baseball completed their three-game sweep over McIntosh on Friday, securing a spot in the playoffs. 

“It showed some resilience,” head coach Brent Moseley said. “We kept them close, and Max got that big hit.”

Sophomore Max Prozny swings at a McIntosh pitch. This at-bat would prove crucial for the Panthers as Prozny would produce a base-clearing double to tie the game in the sixth inning. (Jenson Mahr)

The most notable performance in the game came at the hand of sophomore Max Prozny, who hit a game-tying, base-clearing double in the 6th inning to put the Panthers in a position to win the game. 

Another notable late-game performance came from senior pitcher Alex Ukleja who retired six straight Chiefs batters in the final innings. Not only did Ukleja contribute to the game defensively, but also on the offensive side of the ball. Ukleja was responsible for putting the winning runner into scoring position after his 7th inning single. 

“It’s great, because now we’re in the playoffs,” Prozny said. 

The Panthers struggled right out of the gate defensively, allowing a run after consecutive errors on ground balls to the pitcher. 

The game remained 1-0 in favor of the Chiefs until the third inning, when two Chief singles and a wild pitch extended the Chiefs lead to 2-0.  

This was followed by yet another scoreless inning by both teams. The Chiefs got off to a massive start in the fifth after a leadoff home run. The Chiefs followed the homer with two singles, a walk, and a defensive error that brought in another run. 

After taking a four-run lead with only six outs remaining, the Chiefs were in control and had all of the momentum heading into the sixth inning. However, in the sixth inning the seemingly dormant Panther offense was brought back to life. 

McIntosh started the sixth with an early flyout, but, after senior Alex Ukleja walked, McIntosh pulled their starting pitcher, who had held the Panthers scoreless through six. This proved to be a mistake McIntosh would regret. 

Following the pitching change, sophomore Jack Ryan singled, moving Ukleja to second. Both runners would end up advancing after a wild pitch. McIntosh pitching would fail once again to get an out the following at bat, when sophomore Austin Sellers singled, driving in Ukleja and narrowing the McIntosh lead to 4-1. 

I was waiting for a fastball and hit it.”

— sophomore Max Prozny

McIntosh recorded their second out of the inning with a strikeout, before walking another batter in sophomore Cole Manetti. With the bases loaded and two outs, Max Prozny proved to be the hero of the night. After taking the first few pitches, Prozny sat on a fast ball and sent a line drive into left field, clearing the bases and tying the game at 4-4. 

“I was taking until I got a strike, so I got up on the plate,” Prozny said. “I was waiting for a fastball and hit it.”

The sixth inning brought new life to the Panthers, and pitcher Alex Ukleja retired three straight batters in the sixth. Riding their momentum from the previous inning, the Panthers came up itching to end the game then and there. 

The bottom of the seventh began with a walk from sophomore Heath Whitlock, followed by a Ukleja single, putting Whitlock on third. A passed ball to sophomore Austin Sellers would be the final pitch of the game, as it drove in Whitlock for the game winning run. 

With the sweep, Starr’s Mill secured a spot in the AAAAA state playoffs ahead of their final series of the season versus Northside-Columbus.