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Kobernick lifts K in extras

Ian Kobernick playing baseball.
Photo by Junfu Han.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – It was a rollercoaster affair in the first round of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association postseason tournament Wednesday afternoon, but the Hornets ended the ride smiling. With runners on first and second in the bottom of the 10th, Ian Kobernick drove a ball to the right-center gap scoring Jordan Wiley and lifting K to an 8-7 walk-off win.

The Hornets seemed to be in control of the game early with Ryan Orr facing the minimum nine batters and the K bats driving in three runs in the first three innings of play.

But with the Hornets holding a 4-2 lead heading into the eighth, the Flying Dutchmen came to life rallying for four runs on three hits and two Hornet errors taking a 6-4 lead, their first lead of the game.

Far from discouraged, the Hornets picked themselves up in the bottom half of the eighth when Andre Gard drove a ball into the right-center gap scoring two on a stand-up double. One batter later, David Kracht drove a pinch-hit single straight up the box putting K back ahead, 7-6.

Steve Simmons struck out the first two batters he faced in the ninth but Hope showed life once again with a two-out rally sending the game to extras before Kobernick's 10th inning dramatics.

Wiley provided a spark at the top of the Hornets lineup all afternoon going 3-for-4. Gard led the way with three RBIs while Kobernick and Jack Clark each ended their days with two hits.

With the win, Kalamazoo advances to play the winner of Adrian vs. Calvin at 12 p.m. tomorrow afternoon in Adrian. At the time of publication, Adrian led Calvin 5-0 in the eighth inning.

Today's win was the 100th career win for Kalamazoo Head Coach Mike Ott.