For seven-plus innings Tuesday night in New Gulf, East Bernard senior Dallas Novicke and Boling junior Hayden Albert went back and forth in a pitcher's duel.
After the duel was over with both pitchers out of the game, Albert came through in the batters' box in the bottom of the ninth to help the Bulldogs steal a 2-1 win against the Brahmas.
East Bernard started the ninth, ready for the 10th inning getting two quick outs from the Bulldogs. However, without a hit, the Bulldogs would win the game.
Boling senior Brayden Bialas started the two out rally with a walk. Fellow senior Lance Kocian was hit with a pitch putting two runners on and moving Bialas into scoring position. Bulldog sophomore Kyler Sweat loaded the bases drawing a full-count walk.
Albert, with two hits and a walk already, stepped to the plate, taking the first two pitches for balls. The East Bernard pitcher fired back with a strike down the middle. Albert a third pitch for a ball, but East Bernard came back with another strike to load the count. Albert looked the next pitch all the way into the catchers' mitt, but it was outside the strike zone, earning him a walk and ending the game.
The Boling junior went 8.1 innings allowing two hits and one unearned run, while striking out seven Brahmas. Novicke matched him nearly strike for strike, spreading out seven hits across 7.2 innings of work, allowing one unearned run and striking out five Bulldogs.
In the top of the ninth, the Brahmas nearly put Boling on their heels, coming inches away from taking the lead.
With one out and Albert off the mound, now playing third base, East Bernard strung together offense.
Brahma junior Reid Morton was hit with a pitch. Fellow junior Weston Swoboda singled to put two runners on, moving Morton to third. Swoboda grabbed an extra 90 feet on a fielders' indifference to put them both in scoring position with one out.
East Bernard hit a slow chopper to third. Albert grabbed the ball and fired it home. Sweat grabbed the ball just ahead of Morton and tagged him as he tried to avoid the out. The Bulldogs got out of the jam with a pop out that ended the inning.
Swoboda had two hits for East Bernard.
While a loss, it's not all gloom for the Brahmas, who still have a shot at a share of the district title. If the Brahmas win out, which includes beating Danbury in East Bernard on Tuesday, there will be three-way tie for first between Danbury, Boling and East Bernard.