Extra Inning Walk-Off Ends Cougars Title Bid

ELKHART - A walk-off win on Saturday, May 28 against rival Jimtown sent New Prairie to the Sectional 19 Championship Game. Unfortunately for the Cougars, the title game featured another walkoff hit, this time off the bat of Mishawaka Marian's Riley Tirotta to lift the Knights to a 7-6 victory over New Prairie in a nine-inning instant classic.

Tirotta, who will be continuing his baseball career at the University of Dayton, went three for five on the day, including a tworun home run in the first inning.

The Cougars (15-15) responded immediately, scoring four runs in the top of the second inning. Three of those runs came on one swing, as Ben McDonald homered to left to give New Prairie the lead, 4-2.

Marian cut the deficit to one in the bottom half when Kyle Hall drew a bases loaded walk from Cougars starter Dylan Kegley to score Taylor Crail from third base. Kegley allowed five runs over 3 and 2/3 innings, striking out three and walking three.

The teams traded runs in the third and fourth innings, with both clubs pushing across a tally in each inning. Brad Kasinger scored in the third on an error by Gavin Verslype after Bryce Bloode singled to the left field. In the fourth, Kadin Abegg tagged up and scored on a Kegley sacrifice fly.

Tirotta singled in the sixth and eventually scored on an error to tie the game at six. Looking to add more with two on and one out, Marian was unable to take the lead. Abegg took the mound in relief and slammed the door on the Knights' rally, striking out Bryce Tomasi to end the threat. The game remained tied at six until the bottom of the ninth, when Tirotta clinched the trip to the Regional for Marian.

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