OBA second baseman Jud Cheatham came away with the play of the day on Monday when the OBA Trojans handed Pioneer its second loss of the season, and it couldn’t have come on a better day.
The Trojans led for most of the game but two scores by the Mustangs in the top of the seventh inning tied the game at four after walking two batters — one intentionally — and allowing the tying score on a wild throw to first base.
OBA came out hot in the bottom of the seventh, landing a double from Jett Cheatham and a single by Cole Davis before getting a walk from Jake Colby that left the bases loaded with only one out.
Jud was next up for OBA, who laid down a bunt that scored his brother, Jett, for the winning run, and to top it all off, the walk-off came on Jud’s birthday.
“It came in and it started to curve on me,” Jud said after the game. “and I reached for it, and I got it down.”
The freshman admitted he was nervous going into the at-bat. His coach, James Cheatham, who is also Jud’s father, gave him the go-ahead to bunt, which Jud admits made him even more nervous.
But after popping one up earlier in the game, Jud said he didn’t feel confident swinging for a base hit either. Jud said the only thing he felt after seeing the tying run score, though, was relief.
“After I laid it down, man, I don’t know ...” Jud said. “I saw it after I hit it and then I took off, and I turned back and saw (Jett) score and I was just relieved to know that we just beat a team that’s ranked pretty high and has only one loss.”
James Cheatham said that he was happy with his team’s attitude, even when Pioneer scored the tying run and the game looked to be slipping away.
“I was really proud of our young men for responding with intensity,” James said. “They didn’t come in pouting.”
Pioneer came into the game riding a 17-game winning streak, and they had won eight of those games by double digits. The team was coming off a strong performance after winning the Skeltur Conference Tournament on Saturday.
Pioneer head coach David Riesen said after the game that he didn’t feel like his team brought the energy they needed to be able to beat a solid squad like OBA.
“There’s not a whole lot of positive to come from that,” Riesen said. “We made seven or eight errors. Runner on second, nobody out and we still can’t move him, runner on third, nobody out and we don’t move him. OBA played a lot better ball game than we did and they deserved to win.”
Riesen said that he thinks his team can be a championship-level team, but in order to reach that level, they can’t have games like they did on Monday.
“If we’re gonna be a championship-type ball club like I hope,” Riesen said. “we’re gonna have to be able to move runners and score runners with less than two outs and we can’t make seven or eight errors.”
Riesen said that he saw a bright spot in the way his pitcher, Dakota Wingo, played after stepping into a tough spot. Wingo struck out six batters in three innings and allowed just one earned run.
“The positive thing I thought we did well was Dakota Wingo threw the ball well,” Riesen said. “He pitched really well in relief.”
Riesen also had high praise for his opponent following the game.
“I just want to give them a lot of credit,” Riesen said. “They really played well, and they battled and they competed and a lot of teams would’ve folded when they made that error that allowed us to tie it up and they didn’t.”
They came right back in and did what they were suppose to.”
For Jud, the win was extra sweet coming against a team that has typically had their number in the past.
“They beat us in a lot of sports every year,” Jud said. “So it was good to beat them this year.”
Pioneer won’t have long to think about their first loss in nearly a month, as they host Drummond who is No. 17 in Class B on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
“The beautiful thing about baseball is you get to turn around and play again tomorrow,” Riesen said.
OBA will look to build on the momentum from this win on Tuesday when they travel to Ringwood at 4:30 p.m.