Baseball: Bailey Davis’ walk-off single lifts Easthampton past Holyoke 7-6

Jeff Roberson


Staff Writer

Published: 04-29-2024 9:07 PM

Modified: 04-29-2024 9:59 PM

EASTHAMPTON – The Easthampton baseball team is taking a trip to Burger King, and sophomore left fielder Bailey Davis’ usual order of chicken nuggets is going to taste extra special.

It’s a tradition the Eagles have after every win, but this season has been a trying one. Easthampton (2-6) came into Monday evening’s home game against Holyoke (0-10) on a five-game losing streak.

But with a runner on third and two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Davis stepped to the plate with a chance to break open a 6-6 tie. He blooped a pitch off the end of the bat into shallow right field, and although the Holyoke right fielder, second baseman and first baseman all converged on it, the ball dropped for a hit and Jason Sigda scored to give Easthampton a 7-6 walk-off win.

At first, Davis didn’t even realize what he had just done. Holyoke first baseman Aiden Robinson dove at full stretch for the ball and nearly made the catch.

“I thought he caught it, that’s why I stopped running and I was standing there for a second,” Davis said. “I was like ‘aw, shoot.’”

But the ball harmlessly dropped into the grass at Daley Field. Davis was immediately mobbed by his teammates. He called it the best moment of his career.

“Everyone jumped on me, that was crazy,” Davis said. “I’m always on the losing end, so that felt good to have that.”

Monday’s game was the most competitive game of the year for both Holyoke and Easthampton. Coming into Monday afternoon, both teams had lost every one of their games by at least five runs, save for an Easthampton win over Palmer on April 8.

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Holyoke started strong, scoring twice in the first inning. But Easthampton answered with four runs in the bottom of the first on hits from Chris Gallagher, Anthony Incampo and Topher Reardon and a walk from Davis.

The Purple Knights rallied to tie it in the third thanks to an RBI double from Martin Phillips and an RBI single from Robinson. After Easthampton added another in the bottom half of the third, Holyoke’s Matt Dumoulin ripped a two-run single to give Holyoke a 6-5 lead they’d hold for two innings.

Pitchers on both sides settled into nice outings. Holyoke’s Arthur Mazzu, who replaced Theo Marion after that four-run first, threw 4⅓ innings, allowing two runs on four hits with five strikeouts.

Easthampton’s Incampo, Ethan Mullaly and Topher Reardon combined to get out of some crucial jams. Holyoke loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth inning – and then again with one away in the seventh – but Easthampton kept them off the board both times. 

In the top of the sixth, Mullaly and Reardon combined for three consecutive strikeouts to escape the inning. Mullaly drove in the tying run in the bottom of the sixth. And in the seventh, Gallagher tagged Jovaughn Rivera out at home on a squeeze play before Reardon struck out Mazzu to end the inning.

“I thought that was a good point to call that play,” Holyoke coach David Guzman said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t work out and we didn’t make the play, so they benefited from it. But I’d do it again.”

In the bottom of the seventh, Sigda led off the inning with a bloop single, then took second on a stolen base and third on a wild pitch. When he scored, the entire Eagles bench sprinted out of the dugout to mob him and Davis.

Even after the handshake line, as the Eagles made their way over to left field for their postgame meeting, the emotions hadn’t died down. Several Eagles ran up to the outfield grass and slid on their stomachs with glee.

“I’m not a genius in any respect,” Easthampton coach Ed Zuchowski said. “But certainly, the way we played it today finished just the way it was scripted.”