Deja Vu! Heisler Picks Up Second Extra Innings Walk Off In Three Days

Photo by Linwood Ferguson
Photo by Linwood Ferguson
MARIANNA, Fla.- For the second time in three days, the #20 Florida SouthWestern State Baseball team got a walk-off victory Friday night.  That in itself is not overly unusual, but add in the fact that it was the same winning score (6-5), they were both in extra innings, and the same hitter, Noah Heisler, was responsible for both of the game winning hits, and it makes for a feat that even the history rich game of baseball has rarely seen.  The 6-5 win for the Bucs over #3 Walters State marks the second straight season that FSW has knocked off a top five Senators team in Marianna.  
The Bucs looked like they were in trouble early on as Walters broke through with a four run 2nd on four hits and a pair of free passes to jump ahead 4-0.  
The Senators added to their lead in the 3rd without the benefit of a hit as a hit batter, a stolen base, and an FSW error gifted them another tally to stretch their lead to 5-0. 
In a key at bat in the bottom half of the frame, Connor Bagnieski ripped a two run double to the wall in left, slicing the Walters lead to 5-2 after three.  
Walters gave the Bucs a free run of their own in the 5th as Noah Heisler walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and then scored on a passed ball to cut the lead to 5-3. 
Ronny Medina came in out of the Bucs bullpen in the 6th and worked his way out of a jam to keep it a 5-3 game.  
A season after leading the state in walks, hit by pitches, and stolen bases, Bucs Ball was on full display in the bottom of the inning as they scored two runs on three walks, a hit batter, and two sacrifice flies to tie the ballgame up at 5.  
Walters put their leadoff man on in the 7th and bunted him over to second with one out. A walk set up the double play situation for the Bucs, but they wouldn't need it as Alan Mercado came in in relief and picked up a big strikeout and then induced a groundout to end the frame to keep it a 5-5 game.  
After a pair of strikeouts started the FSW 7th, Bagnieski tripled to the wall to get to within 90 feet of winning the game, but the Bucs third punchout of the frame ended the threat and sent the game to extras deadlocked at 5.  
Mercado worked a quick 1-2-3 top half of the 8th for the Bucs to give them another chance to walk it off in the bottom half of the inning.  
Warnner Rincones reached on an error to start the Bucs half of the inning and immediately put his speed on display, stealing second to put himself in scoring position. A walk put two on with no out for the Bucs and a successful double steal moved both runners up 90 feet.  A walk loaded the bases to set up a force at home, but apparently the Senators didn't watch the Bucs game on Wednesday, because what they actually set up was Mr. Clutch, Noah Heisler in his favorite spot with the game on the line.  Just as he did on Wednesday, with the game tied at the same score, and in extra innings, Heisler ripped a single to the outfield for a single, once again giving the Bucs a 6-5 walk off win.   
Amazingly, FSW was outhit 8-3 in the game with Bagnieski's two extra base hits and Heisler's game winner, the only three knocks the Bucs managed in the contest.  However, the Bucs walked nine times, stole six bases, and executed a pair of sacrifice flies in the win.  The FSW bullpen worked three innings of scoreless relief with Medina tossing 1 1/3 innings, allowing just two hits while Mercado retired all five batters he faced to earn his first career win.  
The Bucs improve to 4-3 with the victory while Walters falls to 3-2.  
The same two teams will match up Saturday afternoon at 2 before the Bucs take on San Jacinto in an 8 PM start.