There aren’t enough words to accurately describe Perry’s game on Wednesday, July 10 with Ogden (18-12). But frustrating and exhilarating cover most of the bases as the Bluejays (0-20) fell 8-6 to the Bulldogs in nine innings for a marathon of a Senior Night where seniors Carlos Calderon, Quinn Helmers, Conner Kenyon, Alex Morales, and Kaleb Olejniczak were all honored before the game.
“There were a lot of calls that could have fell either way,” Perry head coach Austin Daniels said. “And at the same time, there were some small things we could have done better than we did.”
One thing is certain, the Bluejays moved their bats as well as any other time this season as they chased down their second-highest run total of the season and most since a 7-6 loss to Boone. That all started by getting the bases loaded for Olejniczak.
Down 5-0, he stepped up and immediately sent the ball deep to center. Any amount of wind in his favor, he’d have a grand slam the team would talk about forever. But after it fell at the warning tracks, he’d already sent through fellow seniors Conner Kenyon and Quinn Helmers for a two-run double.
The Bluejays were right back in it and had enough momentum for three more runs to cycle through order, potentially grabbing a fourth run that was disputed at home. But after some debate, the umpire said the third out was recorded at third base before the run could count, leaving Perry with little margin for error with a 6-5 lead against a powerful offense.
“We can’t control what the call is. We can control what we do,” Daniels said. “So a couple of plays, we ran into a couple of outs, missed a couple of signs. We can control those things.”
Ogden responded by getting some action to the outfield, driving in the tying run at 6-6 in the following inning and striking out five of Perry’s next seven batters to push the game into extra innings.
Striking out another three for a perfect inning, Ogden pitcher looked unstoppable until the ninth frame giving up two singles at the top of the order. Trying to get into scoring position to get another rally going, Olejniczak slid into third for a photo finish tag but was called out for yet another highly-debated call.
The momentum stayed with Ogden as Perry would need two more runs to keep the game going after the Bulldogs put up two runs for the final score of 8-6.
Going not just one extra inning but two for the first time this season puts Perry’s efforts into perspective.
“It says something when you’re not winning and you’re still fighting like this,” Daniels said. “I don’t think it was just because it was Senior Night. They fight each day. We’re still working. We can have great nights like this and then some of the night things go wrong and we’re picking our head back up. But we have the last two weeks. Our record doesn’t reflect it but we have turned that corner. We’re better than we look on paper.”
Perry heads to Kuemper Catholic (16-13) on Thursday and returns for one last home game Friday against Nevada (5-20)