BASEBALL: Walk-off in extra innings seals win for Ball State against Akron
Sean Godfrey had already tied the game with a solo home run earlier in the fourth inning.
When the Ball State junior stepped to the plate in the bottom of the tenth, he wanted to end it.
Senior Blake Beemer stood on second base.
With the count at 1-2, Godfrey unleashed on the ball, sending it over Akron’s centerfielder, who was playing shallow.
“I thought I had hit it over the centerfielders head,” Godfrey said. “I wanted to run it out just in case, and then when I saw it drop I got pretty excited.”
Trying to not think about the situation, Godfrey tried to tell himself during the at-bat that it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
“I wanted to stay relaxed and treat it like any other at bat, because it really wasn’t anything different,” Godfrey said. “Get up there, see the ball and hit the ball, it’s all I can do.”
Godfrey said that as he approached his final at bat, one of the things going through his mind was to keep it simple.
That’s one of Ball State coach Rich Maloney’s keys to winning that he preaches to his players constantly.
Maloney said that keeping things simple was a big part of his team’s win. He noted that when the teams combine for just three runs, sometimes it’s easy to lose focus and give up a big play.
Ball State had a few opportunities late to win the game before the tenth inning, but came up short.
In the bottom of the eighth, Beemer stood on third, but Cody Campbell flied out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, Cole Greisinger stood on third with just one out, but Brandon Estep flew out and Wes Winkle grounded out to end the inning.
Maloney’s said his players focused on what was going on that moment, rather than looking at what could have been.
“The guys stayed the course and we knew there would be a lot of close games, but it was great to see the guys come through,” Maloney said. “Teams that win always find a way to win games that can lull you to sleep and games where you may miss a chance to win.”
After hitting the game winner, Godfrey sprinted around the bases, where his teammates were ready to tackle him.
Godfrey saw them and reversed his direction, sprinting from second base back towards first, with a smile on his face that could have been seen from the left field wall where he hit a home run earlier.
“We’ve had a few walk-offs this year already and I’ve seen a couple guys get pummeled, “I didn’t want to get beaten up too bad, so I tried to get away from them. It was all fun, today was just a lot of fun.”