Viking comeback: Whitman baseball defeats Damascus in 8 inning

[See more photos from the game here!]

In a highly competitive baseball game Monday Night, Wait Whitman High School faced a 5-0 deficit against Damascus, heading to the bottom of the fifth. 

The Vikings powered back, scoring six runs before extra innings. Yet, Whitman capped off its comeback off Liam Bowen scoring on a passed ball in the eighth inning as the Bethesda-based team earned an improbable 7-6 walk-off win over the Swarmin’ Hornets.

The game featured two Montgomery County teams — having successful regular seasons – preparing for the battles facing them in the Maryland state playoffs. Yet for Bowen, it was time for Whitman to earn the win and “not go another inning.” 

The winning run came in the bottom of the eighth, as the umpire called a passed ball – a pitch the catcher can’t catch or control – on Damascus, allowing Bowen to score with his teammates waiting for him at home plate.

May 1, 2023: Walt Whitman High School’s baseball team fights back from a 5-0 deficit to defeat Damascus 7-6 Monday night. (Mike Clark/The Sports Pulse)

“It felt like something we’ve been waiting for all year,” Bowen, who finished with two RBIs, said. “We haven’t been able to come back from deficits, but we got the dub.”

The Hornets’ first three runs came on wild pitches, as Ryan Domer, Malachi Nunez and Dustin Hottel made it 3-0 after the fourth inning. Damascus extended its advantage to five runs at the top of the fifth after Hottel got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, allowing a run to score.

Slowly, Whitman began its comeback in the bottom half of the fifth when Ethan Murley hit a two-run homer. Then, the momentum completely swung in Whitman’s favor in the bottom of the sixth when Bowen hit a two-RBI triple to make it a one-run game.

“You can’t really coach when they rise to the moment,” said Vikings head coach Joe Cassidy. “Luckily, we have a bunch of kids that do, and Ethan got us started with a two-run home run.”

Then, Gideon Schwartz (two RBIs and two runs) launched a two-run bomb to left field to give the Vikings a 6-5 lead, seemingly completing the comeback.

May 1, 2023: Walt Whitman High School’s baseball team fights back from a 5-0 deficit to defeat Damascus 7-6 Monday night. (Mike Clark/The Sports Pulse)

“I had seen a lot of pitches,” Schwartz said about his at-bat before the home run. “I went 3-2 on both of my first two at-bats, went 3-2 that at-bat, saw a curveball I could handle, and hit it.”

However, in the top of the seventh, Hottel singled on a line drive to send home the tying run for Damascus, forcing extra innings. However, they could not capitalize in the eighth, despite an excellent hitting performance by Hottel, who finished with two hits, two RBIs and one run.

“I can’t be prouder of how the guys played tonight,” said Hornets head coach Scott Frye. “…I feel that all my guys could get the job done. We just needed a couple of things to go our way to end up with the victory, but I wouldn’t trade any of them for anybody.”

Feature photo by Mike Clark/The Sports Pulse

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