HUNTINGBURG — Wednesday night's finish packed a playoff punch.
The Dubois County Bombers needed a walk-off run to close out the second-round series with the Henderson Flash after giving up a two-run blast in the top of the frame.
Cory Anderson walked a hitter before giving up the shot over the left wall. He's had two earned runs in 17.2 innings, nine hits and 25 fanned batters.
"Cory's been lights out all year for us as a closer," Drew Howard said. "(Jeff Hoffman) put a good swing on a pitch."
Coach Travis LaMar and the Bombers (25-20) worked in unison to stand behind him with a 5-4 walk-off. First, leadoff batter Terrick Thompson reached first base with a deft bunt down the first-base line.
"Terrick kind of did it on his own," LaMar said. "He's a kid that's got a lot of speed. It was a real easy way to get on with a lefty on the mound. After that, we got to get somebody in scoring position, less than two outs so we can give ourselves a chance."
That's when Howard came in and delivered another bunt and reached on an error to keep the inning clean. Conner Oxley continued the pattern of trying to get Thompson home on another bunt, this one led to a fielder's choice to third.
After Juan Guzman struck out, LaMar elected to bring Cade Gudalis to the box for a cameo appearance.
He worked his way into a full count that had Howard springing off the base on the next pitch.
Gudalis managed to make contact that slipped the ball up the gut in the direction of second.
After the slow roller made it to shortstop Drew Dalton, Oxley beat the throw after also getting a jump on it.
With second baseman Casey Sorg hesitating for a half second in reaction to the call, Howard crossed home by beating the toss to secure passage to the championship round of the Ohio Valley League.
"It was full count, so I got a pretty good jump," he said. "I was running full steam. I saw the ball go up the middle and I knew I had a chance to score. (Assistant coach) Willie (Poe) was waving me (in), running to third and saw (Sorg) wasn't looking so I thought I was going to clear. They made a throw home and I just beat it."
The Bombers had a near-perfect start in a close-out Round Two contest with the Flash, coming out with a 3-0 edge in the first inning at League Stadium on Wednesday in a matchup delayed by one day due to rain.
Josh Newton slapped a single from the leadoff position to get things going.
After a balk advanced him to second, Camden Gasser hit a ground single that plated Newton.
Grant Hotchkiss was walked to move Gasser to second. A ground out by Thompson brought home Gasser to make it 2-0.
The third run was tacked on from a line-drive double from Howard.
In the bottom of the third, the Bombers increased their advantage to 4-0. Gasser got to first on a walk.
After a fielder's choice put Hotchkiss on base, a wild pitch advanced him to second and then third.
After a throwing error to the bag, Hotchkiss rounded home.
A half inning later, the Flash kept the Bombers honest with a pair of runs. The frame began with a pair of batters reaching base on walks.
Then, Ryan Dos Santos nearly sent the ball out of the park from dead center. His double plated two.
The Bombers took a 4-2 lead into the eighth inning.
In the top of that inning, David Ellison walked a pair of batters and sprinkled in two strikeouts.
The final at-bat against Zach Thomas was a lively duel. After a first-pitch strike, looking, he fouled off seven balls. After he took a ball, he sailed a fly ball nearly straight up for Ellison to take a few steps backward to secure it.
The championship series begins Friday on the road against the Full Count Rhythm in Hendersonville, Tenn.
"I'm excited for these guys," LaMar said. "They've been playing really well here lately. They are just kind of clicking right now. So, I'm just happy for them. Some of them get to have that experience. You don't always get an opportunity to play in a championship at any level."