By THE HERALD-WHIG STAFF
PHILADELPHIA, Mo. — In four years of playing varsity baseball, Marion County's Logan Krigbaum had never hit a home run.
"I had gotten close a couple of times," he said.
Although he held out hope for a power surge, he was beginning to doubt it would ever happen.
"It was getting to that point," Krigbaum said.
He has no reason to doubt it any longer.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning Thursday and the tying run on second base, Krigbaum jacked his first career home run to right-center field, giving the Mustangs a 7-6 walk-off victory over Madison.
"I was just trying to get a base hit and get the run home," Krigbaum said. "That's all I was trying to do."
That would have been enough to keep Marion County alive.
The Mustangs led 5-4 going into the seventh before the Panthers rallied with two runs to take the lead. The comeback ended when reliever Ben Smith entered with two outs and a runner on first base and struck out the only batter he faced on three straight pitches.
In the bottom of the inning, Marion County's Reed Plunkett led off with a single, and after a pop out, pinch-runner Anthony Bock moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Krigbaum followed by falling behind in the count, but he fouled off a pair of pitches and jumped on a one-ball, two-strike fastball.
Although he wasn't certain how well he'd connected, Krigbaum had a feeling the ball might clear the fence. By the time he reached first base, it had.
"I was just really happy," said Krigbaum, who finished 3 for 5 with a double.
His single and Luke Stratton's double jumpstarted Marion County's offense, which scored four runs in the first inning. Plunkett and Smith delivered RBI singles in the frame.
Marion County (2-1) tacked on another run in the second before Madison scored two in the third and two in the fifth.
The Panthers' seventh-inning rally left Mustangs starter Nolan Ryan with a no-decision despite the fact he struck out 12 and walked only two.
"He battled all night long," Marion County coach Jason Keilholz said.