Oneonta caps comeback with 5-4 walk-off win over Owego

Apr. 16—The Oneonta baseball team has made an early season-habit of mounting comebacks and that was true again against perhaps their toughest opponent yet.

Chase Jervis' walk-off single lifted the Yellowjackets to a 5-4 win over Owego Free Academy in a battle of unbeaten teams in Oneonta on Tuesday.

Oneonta found themselves in a 4-0 hole heading into the sixth inning and won with two runs in the sixth and three in the seventh.

Grayson Brockington struck out five over five innings on the mound and went 3-for-3 with a walk and a two-run double which tied the game in the seventh.

Maddox Imperato earned the win, striking out one over two innings and walked twice at the plate and scored a pair of runs, including the winning run.

Nolan Stark went 2-for-3 with a double, a walk and an RBI in the win.

Owego got on the board right away as Ben Rollison hit a leadoff double and came around to score on a single from Evan English to open a 1-0 lead.

Brockington stranded English on third base, which quickly became a theme as he would go on to strand a runner on third in each of the five innings he finished.

"They started out getting timely hitting then we shut that down," OHS coach Joe Hughes said of Brockington's outing. "We were able to prevent that. Grayson and our defense did a nice job keeping us in the ballgame. They had chances to expand the lead but he made pitches and we made plays when we needed to and kept us in the ballgame, gave us a chance."

Both offenses would fail to score again until the fifth inning when Owego expanded the lead to 2-0. But as Hughes pointed out, Owego left six runners on base prior to that as the Yellowjackets stayed within striking distance.

The Riverhawks plated a pair in the sixth to open a 4-0 lead, but it wasn't enough to hold off the comeback by the Yellowjackets.

Britten Zeh worked a leadoff walk and Imperato reached base on a fielder's choice before Jervis hit a sacrifice fly to get Oneonta on the board and Stark hit a two-out double to make it 4-2.

Imperato kept it right there with a clean top of the seventh inning, giving the Yellowjackets an opportunity to keep the momentum rolling as they attempted to tie or win the game in the bottom half.

Bruce Mistler hit a leadoff single to get things started before Zeh and Imperato both walked, loading the bases with no outs.

Brockington came through with a two-run double to tie the game at four and Jervis walked it off, completing yet another comeback win.

"It was a great team effort," Hughes said of the win. "A lot of guys contributed. Grayson did a great job on the mound, Maddox came in and held them down and we finally got some timely hitting. We were talking about timely hitting early in the game, we just didn't get it. We did late. Grayson with a big hit, of course Chase Jervis, our eighth grader with a big hit."

"That's a really good team," he added of Owego. "That's a really good win for us and it's good to play really good competition and come out on top."

Hughes thinks playing a game like this against a tough opponent will continue to help throughout the season and into the playoffs.

"It can only help us," he said. "Competing against really good teams like Owego is gonna help make us better, is going to help us down the road, in sectional play and then to pull it off and beat somebody like that, it could've gone either way but we're happy it went our way. Had some big hits and came through in the end."

"Just really happy for them," he added. "I know it was a grind and I'm really happy for our young kids and look forward to the next game."

Oneonta improves to 7-0 and will host Norwich on Wednesday.

Oneonta 5, Owego Free Academy 4

OFA ... 100 012 0 — 4 8 0

OHS ... 000 002 3 — 5 9 0

OFA: Elijah Lewis, Kam Wicklund (6), Matt Higgins (L, 7)

OHS: Grayson Brockington, Maddox Imperato (W, 6) and Jameson Brown

2B: Nolan Stark (OHS), Grayson Brockington (OHS), Ben Rollison (OFA)