Persistence was the word of the day on the baseball diamond at Russ Carr Field. Westmont (11-7) had multiple chances to score, but managed only three runs in the first eight innings as they took on the visiting Thunderbirds of British Columbia (5-5).
Despite back-to-back singles by Chris Stroh and David Pennington, the first inning proved fruitless. Will Barring was left stranded in the second. The Warriors ended the sixth and seventh innings by lining into double plays. Westmont left three more on the base pads in the bottom of the eighth.
Going into the bottom of the ninth inning, the Warriors had tallied 10 hits but were down 5-3 after leaving ten men on base.
Frustration, however, was not the word of the day. There was no throwing in the towel, no resignation, no mailing it in, no lagging in effort.
Persistence took its time, but persistence paid off - big.
Brody Pawlina took the mound for British Columbia in the bottom of the ninth with the Warriors down to their final three outs.
Pennington came up first and walked on four pitches. J. J. Turbin then waked on five pitches, advancing Pennington to second. After two more balls to David Gabel, Pawlina was replaced on the bump by Tavis Bruce.
Bruce threw another ball to Gabel, then plunked him on the side to load the bases. Spencer Ferdun pinch ran for Gabel at first and Tommy Hocutt made his way to the plate.
On a 2-1 pitch, Hocutt blasted the ball over the batting cage in right field for a walk-off grand slam. Westmont 7, British Columbia 5. Game over.
Frustration turned to celebration. Persistence had won.
Freshman relief pitcher Alex Bush (1-0) was awarded the win after pitching three innigs and allowing two unearned runs on five hits.
The same two teams will meet at Russ Carr Field again tomorrow at two o'clock and Saturday at eleven to complete their three-game series.