MORRIS — It couldn't have started better for Yorkville or worse for Morris on Thursday in the rubber game of the two teams' Northern Illinois Big 12 East series.
After three batters in the top of the first, Yorkville led 3-0, thanks to walks to Elias Flowers and Bryan Corrigan and a booming three-run home run by Cole Yearsley.
After that, though, Morris starting pitcher Luke Olbrot settled down and allowed just one more run in an eight-inning complete-game performance. Meanwhile, his teammates chipped away at the lead and eventually earned the come-from-behind victory on a walk-off single by senior Logan Edwards that gave the Redskins (19-6, 8-3) a Senior Night triumph.
Edwards came up with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the eighth. Zach Reddinger led off the inning with a single and went to second on a walk to Cody Bledsoe. Olbrot flew out to center before Alex Cameron singled to deep center, loading the bases. Edwards fouled off two pitches with two strikes before slamming a pitch to the base of the fence in left-center, allowing Reddinger to score the game-winner.
"I was just hoping to get a pitch where I could find a hole or at least get it deep enough to score the run," Edwards said.
It turned out to be both, and Edwards was mobbed by second base by his teammates in their final home game of the season.
"This was good for our guys, especially the seniors," Morris coach Todd Kein said. "They won the last game they will suit up for on this field, they beat a conference rival and came from behind to do it. It's been a few years since we have won the season series against Yorkville, so this is definitely one for them to remember."
For Yorkville (12-15, 3-7), it was one to learn from.
"We are starting four sophomores," Yorkville coach Scott Luken said. "Cole Yearsley is only a sophomore, but he has four or five home runs in conference games this year. He's really been locked in at the plate. It was a great start, but then we didn't get much more.
"Give credit to Morris on that. Their pitcher did a good job of keeping us off balance and they made some good defensive plays. We made a couple mistakes and they took advantage of them."
Morris got two runs back in the bottom of the third. Edwards led off with a single, but was forced at second on a bunt by Chatten Dryfhout. Cole Laurie followed with a single before Patrick McCabe, who had three hits, singled to right, scoring Dryfhout. The throw home got away, and Laurie came home with the second run.
In the top of the fifth, Flowers led off with a single, then stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. He came home on a grounder to short by Corrigan.
Morris pulled to within 4-3 in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single by McCabe, which scored Dryfhout, who had walked. In the bottom of the sixth, Reddinger led off with a walk and went to when a grounder to second was booted. Olbrot then hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Reddinger with the tying run.
"The script for Senior Night would say that Luke got three quick outs in the top of the first and we got him some runs in the bottom half," Kein said. "It didn't work that way, but Luke really settled in and threw well after the first three hitters.
"We made a nice double play on a line drive late in the game which helped. We have been on the wrong side of a lot of those this year, so it was nice to see one go in our favor.
"We have a lot of guys up and down the lineup that can swing the bat. We don't have to rely on one aspect to score. We can use our speed and we have guys who can hit it into the gap.
"This was a great series. All three were one-run games and they had a regional-type of feel to them. All the games were close, so everything had a little more intensity to it, which is a good way to help us get ready for the upcoming regional."