WARR ACRES — Binger-Oney coach Reggie Willits believes Austin Green has a sixth tool on the baseball field.
The senior certainly showed that Saturday, delivering a dominant eight-inning performance on the mound despite severe arm soreness to help the Bobcats win their first spring baseball championship since 1992 with a 4-3 victory over No. 1 Roff at Palmer Field at Dolese Park.
“There’s just not very many like him,” Willits said. “If you put a radar gun on him on the mound, he ain’t going to blow your doors off. He may not run as fast as everybody and throw as hard as everybody and hit the ball as far as everybody, but I tell you what, there’s not a kid in Class B-6A that’s got half the guts he does.”
After going more than 20 years without winning a baseball title of any sort, the third-ranked Bobcats now have Class A titles in the fall and spring this school year.
And much like Friday’s semifinal victory over Rattan, the Bobcats (27-10) prevailed behind some final-inning magic.
Cord Coffey singled with one out in the eighth and then scored when catcher Colby Sweeney beat out a slow roller to Roff shortstop Mike Anderson with a headfirst slide with two outs to win the game.
“That time I just had to give it all I had and I was just feeling the slide,” Sweeney said.
It was a play many feel rarely benefits the runner, but this time it did just that.
“He knew that he ain’t that fast, so he had to try anything to get there,” Green said. “It worked out because if he would have been standing up that guy could have tagged him on his left side.”
It also kept Green from returning the mound.
After throwing nearly four innings the day before, Green’s arm was hurting before the game even began.
Nearly 110 pitches later, Green came away with his 11th win of the year after allowing three runs on four hits and three walks. He struck out eight and out-dueled Roff ace Dalton Reed, who went the distance and allowed four runs on seven hits.
“I’ve never hurt so bad,” said Green, who also drove in two runs. “It was a lot of pain. I was coming into the dugout putting Icy Hot on it over and over and over. I was glad we got this one done.
“I figured as long as I made it to the fifth inning, I could make it to the seventh. The eighth one kind of snuck up on me, but I had to finish it out.”
It was a gutsy performance by Green, who won all three state tournament games in the fall and is verbally committed to Seminole State.
“He’s always great,” Sweeney said. “That’s usual. I think he pitches better when his arm is hurting.”