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home : sports : sports Friday, April 29, 2016

7/10/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
The Northeast baseball team certainly saved its best for last during Saturday’s doubleheader with Bellevue. Down to their final three outs and needing a win to earn a share of the Big East title, the Rebels made up a three-run deficit on one swing from senior Cole Dickey (below), who hit his first home run of the season to tie the game at 7-7. Three batters later, Matt Haferbier (above) gave the Rebels a dramatic win (and the conference crown) by doubling in teammate Ketzalli Dondiego.
Rebels rally to earn share of Big East baseball title

By Ross Eberhart
Sports editor

It had all the makings of a sports movie.

The stakes were high (a conference crown was on the line), the odds were long (down by three with one final inning to play) and the tension was thick.

It was the Hollywood ending, though, that the Northeast baseball team will remember most about Saturday's Big East doubleheader with Bellevue

Down to their final three outs and on the cusp of being denied a share of the conference title, the Rebels put together a dramatic rally.

The Comets opened the seventh with a strikeout, but Ben Hildebrandt singled and Tevin Stoecker was struck with a pitch.

That brought up senior Cole Dickey. The first baseman had already doubled in the game, but that was child's play compared to the shot Dickey carried over the wall in the outfield for a game-tying home run.

"We never quit," Northeast head coach Tyler Howe said. "One out in the seventh, down three with two on, Cole got to two strikes and then hit his first home run of the season.

"(That's) clutch."

The Comets curtailed some of the Rebels' momentum with another strikeout, but Ketzalli Dondiego drew a walk and scored a batter later as Matt Haferbier set off the Rebels' celebration with a double that gave Northeast an 8-7 victory.

It was the second walk-off victory of the day as Bellevue prevented the Rebels from claiming the conference title outright (Northeast and Lisbon both finished with 12-4 marks) by plating two runs in the bottom of the seventh in the opener for a 3-2 win.

The Comets then added to the Rebels' miseries by jumping out to a 2-0 lead right away in the nightcap.

Bellevue added another run in the third inning and then pushed the lead to five in the fifth inning.

That seemed to wake up the Rebels, who got right back into the game with three runs in the bottom of the frame.

Dondiego led things off with a single and Haferbier added a single of his own before Nick Bailey walked to load the bases. Nick Wall was up next and he also singled, scoring Dondiego and Haferbier. Bailey, meanwhile, scored the final run on a wild pitch and Northeast was within two.

An inning later, the Rebels struck again with Michael Hartung getting hit by a pitch and eventually scoring on a single by Haferbier.

The Comets, though, took advantage of two hits, a walk and a Rebel error (Northeast's sixth of the game) to plate two more runs in the seventh and set the stage for the Rebels' big rally.

"We made a lot of errors and played sloppy baseball, but we never quit and we found a way to win," Howe said of his squad, which brought home Northeast's first Big East title since 2007. "I'm super proud of the guys."

Haferbier led Northeast with three hits, while Dickey had two. The two Rebels combined for five RBIs and had all three of the team's extra-base hits. Wall had two RBIs of his own and was one of four Rebels (Charlie Marcucci, Hildebrandt and Dondiego joined him) with a hit in the game.

Northeast got off to a good start in the opener as Hildebrandt socked a one-out double in the top of the first and scored moments later on another double, this one by Dickey.

The Rebels added a second run in the fourth.

Stoecker led off the frame with a walk and Dickey singled up the middle. Hartung moved them both into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt and Stoecker ended up scoring on a passed ball.

Bellevue got a run back in the sixth, but it was still 2-1 Rebels heading into the bottom of the seventh.

The first Comet batter grounded out, but the next reached on an error and then took second after a sacrifice.

A third Bellevue hitter drew a walk and a wild pitch put runners on second and third with two outs.

Needing an opportunity to throw out a runner on a hit, Northeast brought its outfield in and the Comets' Cole Reeg took advantage by hitting a line drive into deep center to give Bellevue the win.

Dickey had two hits, including a double, and had a strong day on the mound, allowing just a single earned run, while striking out six batters.

Hildebrandt hit a double of his own, while Marcucci had the Rebels' final hit in the game.

It was the third game in two days for the Rebels, who traveled south on Friday for a non-conference tilt with Wapello.

The two teams found themselves tied at three after three inningsbefore the Rebels exploded for 11-straight runs in a 14-3 win that lasted just six innings.

No Northeast player had a better day at the plate than Dickey, who drove in eight runs with his three hits during the game (two of the hits were doubles).

Dondiego and Hildebrandt joined Dickey with three hits and both knocked in a pair of runs. Marcucci and Wall each had two hits with Haferbier driving in two runs.

Hildebrandt earned the win on the mound, spreading out seven hits and striking out six. Dondiego pitched the final two innings and did not allow a hit, while picking up five strikeouts.

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