Renn's walk-off blast lifts Hallam to dramatic triumph
- Dalton Renn's walk-off three-run homer lifted Hallam over Jacobus, 7-6.
- It was Game 1 in the best-of-five Susquehanna League Playoff Championship Series.
- Game 2 in the series is set for 5:45 p.m. Thursday at Jacobus.
HALLAM — With his team down to its last strike and trailing by two runs, Hallam's Dalton Renn seized the moment on Tuesday evening.
Renn delivered a dramatic, three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift the Express over Jacobus, 7-6, in the first game of the best-of-five Susquehanna League Playoff Championship Series.
The Hallam third baseman drove an 0-2 pitch into the twilight and over the fence in left-center field; He was mobbed by his teammates after circling the bases.
"I had two strikes on me, so I choked up (on the bat), and my only thought was 'don't strike out,'" Renn said. "Never once did I think I was going to hit a home run."
That's what Renn did, though, creating a memory that will last a lifetime.
"I don't have too many home runs in my life, so that one tonight ranks right up there with the first collegiate home run and the first grand slam," he said.
Renn's blast capped a four-run rally for the Express, which began its final at bat trailing, 6-3.
"We don't give up, and we don't point fingers when we get down," Hallam's Angel Matias said. "We've done this before (mounted a winning comeback late in a playoff game)."
Matias collected three hits in Tuesday's game, while Matt Ruth, Colby Shimmel and Dan Wecker each had two hits for the winners.
"I had an off night at the beginning of the playoffs, and I made adjustments," Matias said. "I adjusted my swing, and it worked for me."
Matias and Shimmel supplied singles in the seventh, and Eric McNeil drew a walk to help set the stage for Renn.
"Coming in (to the finals), you always want to take the first one," Renn said. "It was awesome coming back the way we did. It was a great feeling to win this game."
Hallam manager Terry Golden said the way his team responds to adversity gives him goose bumps.
"This team has showed heart before. That's the mark of a champion. Never give up," he said. "We didn't play like champions. We made too many mistakes. But, we showed the heart of a champion."
Shimmel, who came on to pitch in the top of the seventh inning and retired the visitors in order, earned the victory. It was the final game of the playoffs for the Eastern York High School graduate, who is planning to leave Wednesday for college.
Anthony Ferrell had a terrific game for Jacobus with a double and two singles in four at bats. Farrell, Brian Crimmel and Mike Austin drove in two runs apiece for the Jackals. McNeil finished with two RBIs for Hallam.
The second game in the series is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. Thursday in Jacobus.
Reach Dick VanO'Linda at email@example.com.