NORTH ADAMS -- The Drury baseball team had a difficult time solving Hoosac Valley pitcher Matt Braman for much of Friday night's game. They finally got to him in the bottom of the seventh.
Braman seemed to be getting stronger as the game went along, pitching his best in the fifth and sixth innings. That continued into the seventh, but he made one mistake and Kodey Bryce drilled it into right-center field for a two RBI, walk-off double, giving the Blue Devils (8-8) a 5-4 win.
"It feels like a dream right now. It doesn't feel like it actually happened," Bryce said. "I hate being the last out of the game, so to see that was really good. ... I'm in kind of slump lately, but it especially scared me because I had two strikes and it's two outs. To see that come out, it's just a good feeling overall."
Braman entered the seventh inning with 107 pitches thrown. It was the 131st, a hanging curveball, that Bryce squared up.
Hoosac (8-8) thought it had won the game -- twice -- a batter earlier when Braman spotted two fastballs on the outside corner to Nolan Bird. Both were called balls and the senior Blue Devil earned a two-out walk, placing runners at the corners.
Bryce quickly found himself in an 0-2 hole and laid off a high fastball before getting the curveball he knew was coming.
"Especially on a 1-2 pitch, usually the third pitch is usually a curveball," he said. "I just knew I had to wait on the pitch and it came."
On a team full of youth, it was the Blue Devils' seniors that came through. Bird earned his two-out walk after having two strikes on himself, and Bryce stayed focused in an 0-2 hole.
"Our seniors have been great," coach Al Marceau said. "They grind, they work."
Knowing his seniors were due up third and fourth in the seventh, Marceau was actually hoping Braman would return to the mound. He also knew it was better matchup-wise. Drury had the top of the order due up, but has three left-handed hitters in the first five -- Bryce is one of them.
Marceau saw Justin Nichols throwing in the bullpen and knew how he controlled the Blue Devils in the season's first matchup.
"With our lefties coming up, I just thought ‘Oh, please don't let him be available. He's just so tough on lefties. That was my big concern," he said. "You can't pinch hit for seniors in the Hoosac-Drury game. Your hands are tied. I was more worried about that."
Braman was around the zone all night, throwing 89 of his 131 pitches for strikes. He didn't throw more than 12 balls in any one inning. He finished with seven strikeouts, five hits and two walks.
"I felt real good. I warmed well before the game. I hadn't thrown all week pretty much, so my arm felt good coming into the game. So I was pretty happy my performance," he said. "Couple missed opportunities here and there cost us the game, but we should've played better all around. ... All in all, I thought we played a pretty solid game."