The game of baseball can often be played at its best when mental and physical skill come together for a short period of time.
Such was the case for Hillsdale College junior Jake Hoover in a big situation Sunday.
Hoover drew a walk, stole second, then scored from second on a botched third-strike catch and overthrow to provide the game-winning run for his team in a 4-3 win over Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro, resulting in a Sunday doubleheader split.
A multi-skilled baseball player, Hoover used his excellent hitting eye to draw a leadoff walk as the 10th inning unfolded under quickening darkness. He then used his speed to steal second base during the next at bat. A swing-and-miss on strike three by Matt Granzotto was mishandled, allowing Granzotto to advance to first. But the overthrow was spotted by the heads-up Hoover, who then raced around from second base to score the go-ahead run for the Chargers. The sequence was emblamatic of what a baseball talent Hoover is.
Closing out the win was freshman pitcher Caleb Biedenbarn who won his first collegiate game with a strong relief appearance. He went three innings with four strikeouts and no hits allowed in relief of starter Sawyer Allen.
The Panthers scored once in each of the first three innings, but Allen shut them down from there, scattering six total hits in the start.
Hillsdale outhit Kentucky Wesleyan in both games - 7-5 in the first and 8-6 in the second - but three errors were costly to the Chargers in Sunday's opener.
Joe Hamrick turned in a solid relief outing on the mound, pitching 3.2 innings with three strikeouts and no earned runs allowed.
Jake Rhodes hit a three-run home run in the top of the fourth to account for Hillsdale's offense. Dylan Lottinville and Dante Toppi scored on Rhodes's round-tripper. James Krick was 2-for-3 and Michael Mitchell had a pinch hit for Hillsdale.
PHOTO: Kenny Badylak/Kentucky Wesleyan College