Perry baseball coach Damien Tippett doesn't want to see Horizon again this season. He's had his flll having played them three times and lost all three in the last five days.
Two of those losses were in Horizon's Preseason Invitational so they don't count in calculating power points. Their meeting Thursday at Perry High did register in that regard and it was a tough 9-7 defeat to Horizon. The two invite losses were by scores of 14-4 and 9-6.
"That team is so good, there is no quit in them," Tippett said. "They don't give away at-bats." Tippett had one of Horizon's last at-bats of the game on his mind when offering that observation.
Horizon (6-0 overall and 2-0 ijn power-ranking games) was hanging on to a 7-5 lead in the top of the seventh. There were two outs and runners at first and third. Horizon clean-up hitter Casey O'Malley was at the plate. O'Malley and Perry reliever Korey Soetaert engaged in a 12-pitch battle with O'Malley spoiling a half-dozen pitches to keep it going. O'Malley untimately coaxed a walk -- a ball four wild pitch -- that scored an insurance run to make it 8-5. A few pitches later, No. 5 hitter Cameron Doherty singled to center to add another for a 9-5 advantage.
"That was a great at-bat, what was it 12 pitches,' Horizon coach Eric Kibler said. "This was one of my favorite games. It shows you win games in different ways. We made some nice defensive plays in the outfield and third. Kept adding on. We needed to because they can swing it."
As it turned out, Horizon needed the extra tallies that O'Malley purchased with his at-bat. Perry (1-5, 1-1 prg) pulled within 9-7 after its first two batters in the bottom of the seventh -- a walk to Coleman Roberts followed by the Pumas' third, two-run homer of the game -- this one by Trevor Hauver. Horizon reliever Evan Williams got the next three hitters out and the last two via strikeout.
Horizon pounded out 16 hits -- three apiece from Kody Huff, Danny Berger and Doherty. John Partin had two hits and three RBI and Doherty 2 RBI. Three of Horizon's nine runs scored on wild pitches or passed balls.
On the pitching front, Horizon's 6-foot-5 senior right-hander Colin King won his second game in as many starts with 4 2/3 innings. of work. He alllowed six hits, one walk and four runs. King decisioned powerful Hamilton, 4-2, in the season opener on Feb. 23. Six of Perry's seven runs came on two-run homers -- Emery MIller in the fourth inning, Tommy Sacco in the fifth and Hauver in the seventh.