KERENS -- After throwing six shutouts in a row, the Kerens pitching staff finally gave up a run Friday night.
The Bobcats didn't shake it off.
They walked it off.
It didn't matter that the scoreless streak ended when Ryan Priddy came flying home from third on Lane Lynch's sac fly liner to center in the bottom of the seventh, lifting the Bobcats to a 3-2 walk-off victory over LaPoynor and setting off a wild celebration on the field, where an avalanche of joy covered the Kerens boys who were jumping and shouting into the cold evening.
Kerens stayed unbeaten in district play (3-0) with a comeback that could ignite this already magical season.
When LaPoynor took a 2-1 lead in the top of the seventh the Kerens kids didn't blink. They just went to work in their final at-bat.
Trayton Spivey walked and Priddy walked to start the comeback. Then Danny Conklin came through in the clutch, hitting a double down the left field line that scored Spivey to knot the score at 2-2 and sent Priddy to third.
The Bobcats had runners at second and third when Lynch came to the plate and Lane hit a line drive to center. Priddy tagged up and sailed home with the winning run. He beat the throw easily.
"Ryan's pretty fast," Kerens coach Cole Lancaster said.
And Kerens is pretty resilient. The Bobcats aren't only smart and talented, they're a close-knit team with a high baseball IQ that is building confidence with every victory -- especially a dramatic victory like Friday's.
"I'm really proud of the way they responded to adversity, Lancaster said. "You don't want to be in games like this. You always want to be in the driver's seat, but it's good to have these types of games to find out what kind of team you have."
Lancaster has a remarkable one.
The Flyers, who managed just three hits off Spivey, who went the distance and allowed just one earned run while striking out five and walking one, finally scored in the seventh, ending Kerens' scoreless streak at six games and 46 innings. But even after LaPoynor took the lead no one got down in the Bobcat dugout.
"They stayed at an even keel," Lancaster said of his kids. "That's our M.O. We kind of stay the course. Baseball is a game of failure. You can't get too high. You can't get too low."
They were sky-high later after Lynch's sac fly brought home Priddy. Lynch scored the first run of the game in the third when he flew home on a passed ball. It was a manufactured run by a disciplined team that lives on fundamentals.
Lynch led off with a single, moved up on a walk to Kannon Ritchie and advanced to third on Krayton Ritchie's fielder's choice to short before he came racing home with a 1-0 lead.
Kerens had six hits, including two by Lynch and a huge double by Conklin in a tight, hold-your-breath game that came complete with a wild ending.
"It's good we won to see what kind of team we have," Lancaster said. "I don't know if we would have won this game last year. We are more mature this year.
"It was a heck of a game."
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