Springdale's Lock hits walk-off slam to give rival Riverview 1st loss
Springdale junior Adam Lock only watched the ball he laced down the left field line with the bases loaded long enough to see it curl toward the foul pole.
As he as headed down the basepath, Lock figured he'd either round first base and look for a double or loop back toward the batter's box with a strike against him in the count.
When he touched first, he encountered a moment of confusion. Then confusion transformed into ecstasy.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Lock sent the first pitch that came his way over the left-field fence for a two-out, walk-off grand slam that delivered the Dynamos an 11-10 home win over previously undefeated Riverview (8-1, 3-1). The blast beyond the fence was the first of Lock's career at his home field. He finished with seven RBIs in the Section 4-A win for Springdale (3-5, 3-1).
“I thought it was going to go foul, or I thought it'd hit the fence,” Lock said. “I was rounding first, and I thought it landed, but my coach was like, ‘Clear them.' I was like, ‘Really?' I didn't believe him at first.”
A heap of doubt floated through Lock's head as he stepped to the plate to face Riverview's Dom Conte. Though Lock drove the ball well into left field during his first two at-bats — the latter resulted in a three-run, inside-the-park homer — he lost confidence late in the contest after striking out in the bottom of the fourth and the seventh.
“I actually didn't think (the grand slam) was going to happen,” Lock said. “I know (Conte), and he's a great pitcher. I didn't think I was going to touch him.
“I told my dad before the at-bat that I was just going to try to have fun and not over-think things. I just went with what felt right, and it ended up working out.”
Teammates waited at home plate and swarmed Lock upon his arrival. All of the setbacks — there were many — endured by the Dynamos earlier in the game melted away.
“We talk a lot about how to fight adversity,” Springdale coach Randy Eaton said. “There were two innings in this game where adversity came up and punched us square in the nose. And we fought back both times.”
Springdale, which committed seven errors, watched its 5-1 lead dwindle to a one-run edge in the fourth. Then Riverview took a lead for the first time in the top of the eighth after the Dynamos brought in a pitcher to replace durable starter Alex Demonte. Dom Conte hit a leadoff double against Demonte's replacement, Tyler Robbins, and the Raiders' next three batters were hit by pitches. Austin Kline replaced Robbins and had better control, but Springdale throwing errors translated into more runs for Riverview, which entered the bottom half of the inning with a seemingly safe 10-6 lead.
Nick DiBucci, Riverview's starting pitcher, left the mound after walking the first batter he faced in the eighth. Conte arrived in relief but failed to shut the door on Springdale, which loaded the bases with one out.
Austin Kline's two-out single to left field scored Mike Banachoski and cut Springdale's deficit to three runs.
Lock's game-winning laser followed.
“I think that's the first time I've ever witnessed a walk-off grand slam,” said Riverview coach Rich Griser, who has led teams at various levels for 37 years. “I think this is probably my toughest (loss) to take.
“We really thought we were going home with a W here. This hurts.”
While Springdale grows more confident — the Dynamos have won three of their last four — Riverview must regroup after opening the season with its best start under Griser. The Raiders are scheduled to meet section leader North Catholic (4-5, 4-0) Monday.
“We've got to put this behind us, and that's not going to be easy,” Griser said. “These kids are shook right now.”