Baseball, Sports

Redbirds baseball stuns Stingers in thrilling walk-off win

After an undefeated weekend in Ottawa with six wins in three days, the Redbirds headed back across the Quebec border to play their regular season opener against the Concordia Stingers (0–1) on Sept. 5. 

The game opened with a two-run top of the first for Concordia, but McGill was quick to respond, tying the game 2-2 in their at-bat. In the top of the second, the Stingers took a 3-2 lead, but third baseman Evan Dunne led off the bottom of the inning with a triple to deep centre field, and right fielder Brandon Kim scored him on an RBI double to tie the game. 

After allowing three runs in the top of the third, starting pitcher Gabriel Braun was removed from the game and pitcher Braden Tennill entered with the bases loaded. Despite his best efforts, two more runs scored on back-to-back walks, allowing Concordia to exit the inning 7-3. 

Following a quiet bottom of the third and top of the fourth, Kim reached base on a single and centre fielder Alessandro Perreault blasted a two-run shot to bring the Redbirds back within two runs in the bottom of the fourth. 

“I think [the home run] really rallied the team and really got us going,” Perreault told //The Tribune//. “Obviously it was a little bit difficult even after that, but we still picked it up and found a way to win that game.” 

With the bases empty, shortstop Brad Marelich beat out a ground ball and stole second on a wild pitch. After a walk and a flyout, the Stingers walked three straight batters to tie the game 7-7. Following an RBI single from Dunne and a hit by pitch with the bases loaded, McGill exited the fourth inning with a 9-7 lead. 

In the top of the fifth with two outs, an infield single resulted in runners on first and second, and as both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch, the pressure was on. The Stingers hit a ground ball to third base—a seemingly guaranteed third out. However, the runner was called safe at first, allowing Concordia to score two runs and tie the game, with first baseman Sacha Remillard still holding the ball. The Stingers scored another run to take the lead 10-9, sending the Redbirds back to the dugout, drained by both the mental error and the humidity. 

After a quiet inning and a half, Concordia scored in the top of the seventh, giving them an 11-9 lead heading into the final frame. 

As the game completed its third hour, Marelich and second baseman Daniel Zevnick reached base on a walk and a hit-by-pitch respectively in the bottom of the seventh. With one out and Remillard up to bat, the Redbirds accomplished a double steal, moving the runners to second and third. Despite his fielding misplays in the top of the inning, Remillard became the hero with a massive two-run triple to tie the game and electrify the stadium. 

“It meant everything because I had a feeling of letting down my whole team and this triple was like redemption for all the mistakes I did, so at least it ends on a good note,” Remillard said, still trying to catch his breath after the game ended. 

Dunne then singled to centrefield to score Remillard and walk-off the game. Three hours and 25 minutes after they began, the Redbirds remained undefeated. 

“They were really tired, and you could sort of tell by the length of the game today,” newly appointed head coach Christoper Haddad explained. “One thing I’m going to attest to is they battled every single inning.”

However, when asked what they will be doing to prepare for their next game against the Université de Montréal Carabins on Sept. 12, Haddad had just one thing to say: “Rest.” 

Moment of the game: In the top of the first, catcher Chris Bodine threw out a runner trying to steal second, limiting Concordia to just one run that inning. 

Quotable: “Attitude. Never giving up. […] Fighting and battling. Also, hitters. [Our] hitters came through big time.”

– Coach Haddad on what went well for McGill.

Stat Corner: There were a total of 25 walks and seven hit-by-pitches. 

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