When a pitch passed catcher Caden Bodine with the potential tying run at third base in the seventh inning, he simply found an unusual way to win the game.
Bodine pounced on the stray pitch and threw the ball to pitcher Mason Dobbs just as he came home to tag the runner for the game finale.
The play gave third-seeded Haddon Heights a 4-3 win over number-one seeded Cedar Creek in the NJSIAA South Jersey Tournament Sectional Finals, Group 2 in Egg Harbor City.
Haddon Heights (21-7) will host Group 1 Central champion Rumson-Fair Haven in the Group 1 semifinal on Monday.
Cedar Creek (19-13), playing in its first section final, took a 1-0 lead on John McColl’s RBI single in the first inning.
Haddon Heights didn’t respond until the fifth inning when he scored four runs, including RBI singles from Bodine, John DiConstanzo and Timmy Shell.
Nate Winterbottom hit an RBI single in the sixth inning for the Pirates to make it 4-2.
In the bottom of the seventh with one out, a single and three walks sent another run home. Christian Coppola tied on the step to score a run to make it a 1-point ball game.
Junior right-hander Mason Dobbs retired the next batter, then Bodine chased a passed ball to kick the runner out of third for the win.
Head Coach Eric Newell said, “We had a tough seventh inning. Dobbs was in the zone but we weren’t getting the calls, and when he loaded the bases he was nervous.
“But he calmed down and got that big strikeout for the second out. It was huge for us,” Newell said.
“The game Bodine made was exactly like we did in training. Everything went perfectly,” the coach said.
“Our pitcher has been really good overall, not just our starters, but the ones that come in the fifth inning and close out the game,” he said.
“We also swing good bats. We have good players from 1 to 9, especially in the last games.
The winning pitcher of the night was Drew Harris, a second-year right-hander.
It’s the second time Coach Newell has won a section title since starting at Haddon Heights in 2014. He won a Group 1 championship in 2015, and now that the school has moved to a new band.
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