Wells’ walkoff home run beats Minot State

Nate Bope, Staff Writer

The Wayne State College baseball team was led by freshman catcher Treyton (Trey) Wells during the past week of games against the Minot State Beavers and Upper Iowa Peacocks. 

The Wildcats earned a doubleheader split with the Beavers in Wayne and won two out of three games against the Peacocks in Fayette, Iowa. Wells hit a home run in four out of the five games, including a walk-off home run against the Beavers, with a grand total of seven on the week. The results from this weekend move WSC’s overall record to an even 17-17 on the season. 

On Wednesday, April 12, the doubleheader against the Beavers was defined by the long ball. A combined 13 home runs were hit by the two teams across both games. In game one, Minot State jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, all three runs courtesy of home runs by Gunner Kozlowitz and Javier Gutierrez. The Wildcats battled back within one off a Colin Lynam RBI single that scored two runs. The score was 3-2 Beavers after three innings. 

Gutierrez started the fourth inning by hitting his second home run of the game. The Beavers scored three more runs during this inning to make it a 7-2 ball game. The bottom half of the fourth is where Wells smashed his first home run of the day to make it 7-3.  

The two sides battled back and forth all game long, but the Wildcats never got closer than that one run deficit they had at the end of the third. With the score at 11-5, Wells scored the last two runs for the Wildcats with two more home runs, one in the Sixth and another in the seventh. With three home runs in one game, the catcher Wells ties a WSC record for most home runs in a game. Nonetheless, WSC lost game one 11-7. 

Game two was even more of a slugfest than game one. The first five innings of the game saw a total of 22 runs scored, each side scoring 11, and seven total home runs. 

The top of the first inning saw the Wildcat defense make a couple of early mistakes, leading to the Beavers taking a 2-0 lead. WSC answered perfectly in the bottom of the inning by scoring four runs of their own, all four courtesy of two two-run home runs by Carter Thomas and another by Wells, his fourth of the day. The scoreboard after one inning read 4-2. But the offensive outburst was just getting started. 

The second inning saw more fireworks, as the Beavers’ Matt Malone hit a two-run home run to tie the game and then Dalin Ludlow wasted no time by blasting one over the fence himself, giving the Beavers a 5-4 lead. The Wildcats quickly stormed back to tie the game with a Thomas single and took the lead after Beaver pitcher Craig Schmich walked Hunter Babe to walk in a run. WSC added another run after Quinn McCafferty grounded into a fielder’s choice. After two innings, and just over an hour of gametime, it was 7-5 Wildcats. And why stop here? 

The third inning saw yet another Gutierrez home run, his third of the day, tie the game at seven. In the fourth, Kozlowitz doubled to right center field to grant Beavers the lead back, and the lead was extended off a wild pitch, 9-7. The Wildcat offense came back out ready to put more runs on the board, yet they only scored one in the bottom of the fourth off a McCafferty single. 

The Beavers added insurance in the top of the fifth off a Carter Paine home run, leading the Wildcats to send starting third basemen Braden Cannon to the pitcher’s mound.  

“Braden is such a dawg on the mound,” Wells said. “He shows so much confidence. He wants the ball and finds ways to get it done.” 

Mark Ossanna then hit that wasn’t fielded cleanly by Lynam in left field. The score was 11-8. 

The pattern of leads being short-lived continued. Cannon homered, Lynam hit a sac fly, and Babe doubled to right center to tie the game for the Wildcats 11-11. 

The next three innings saw no runs scored. So, we headed to the ninth, deadlocked at 11. The Beavers plated the go-ahead run after Derek Kay stole third, then scored off a throwing error by the catcher Wells. The bottom of the ninth saw Lynam hit a sac fly to tie the game at 12. The Wildcats weren’t able to drive home that winning run, sending the game to extras. 

With Cannon still on the mound, and after allowing the first batter on base, he took care of business and made it out of the inning. Cannon finished with seven strikeouts, only allowing three hits and one run in 5.2 innings pitched. 

I had good command of my 2-seam, slider mix,” Cannon said. “That was really my key to keeping hitters off balanced all day.” 

In the bottom of the tenth, Wells was playing long ball and hero ball at the same time, as he drilled a ball just over the center field fence. The center fielder almost came up with the ball, leading to confusion in the diamond and leading Wells to pass the runner ahead of him on base. Ultimately, this means Wells run doesn’t count. Even so, Wells hits the walk-off home run, and the Wildcats earn a series split with a 13-12 win in 10 innings. 

“I just had the mindset of barreling balls into center field all day,” Wells said. “The walk-off is definitely the highlight of my career. Those are moments I dreamt of as a kid and to make it come true was surreal.” 

Wells home run party continued when he hit two homers over the weekend in Fayette, one in each game of Friday’s doubleheader sweep, 10-8 in game one and 12-5 in game two, including going 4-5 in game two.  

Wells totaled a batting average of .571 with 12 hits, seven home runs, and 12 RBIs across the five games this past week.  

The Wildcats couldn’t overcome the Peacocks in the series finale on Saturday, as UIU won 3-2. 

“We are all starting to come together and play as a team,” Wells said. “We have come so far since the start of the season, and we are not done yet.” 

The Wildcats next take the field at home to take part in a three-game weekend series against Concordia St. Paul on Saturday, April 22 and Sunday, April 23. The games against the Golden Bears are scheduled to take place at the Pete Chapman Baseball Complex on the campus of WSC.