A walk-off home run is the stuff kids dream of, maybe before they even play Little League.
But how about a walk-off grand slam with two outs, on an 0-2 pitch?
That’s exactly what junior DH Bobby Ulmer did Monday afternoon at Mountainview Park, sending his team and their fans into utter delirium.
It didn’t win Middlesex a championship, but it did give them a 7-5 victory and send the Blue Jays to the Group 1 final for the fourth time in five seasons, where they’ll try to win the school’s third Group 1 title under sixth-year head coach Justin Nastasi, and the program’s sixth overall.
The Blue Jays (21-4) will play in the Group 1 title game Saturday afternoon at 1:00 at Veterans Park in Hamilton, facing North 2 champion New Providence. The Pioneers (17-7) beat North 1 title winner Hasbrouck Heights 12-1 in a five-inning mercy rule-shortened game in the other semifinal Monday.
Middlesex got the scoring going in the top of the first, when they took a two nothing lead on an RBI double by Ulmer – who finished the game with a pair of doubles and six runs batted in. He drove in pitcher Stephen Young – who led off the game with a single – and Ryan Vollmer, who worked a one-out walk.
Woodstown cut it to 2-1 when Middlesex conceded the run with a groundout by Ben Woodruff following a one-out triple by Chase Swain, who would do even bigger things in the fifth inning.
It was there Woodstown began to hit Young, who looked to be cruising, retiring five batters in a row to close the fourth.
But before that, Middlesex would extend the lead to 3-1 on an RBI single in the fourth by Matt Venutolo.
In the next half-inning, Caden DeSiato worked out a walk for Woodstown, and Brent Williams moved him to second with a single. Chase Reiger beat out a bunt onto the grass down the third base line that Young fielded, but he had no throw by the time he got to it and everyone was safe.
Thenm on a 2-2 pitch, Swain cranked a grand slam to left field to give Woodstown a 5-3 lead.
Young settled back in and got three flyouts on the next six pitches to end the inning.
Meanwhile, Reiger was settling in, and came out for the seventh just three outs away from sending his team to the Group 1 final.
But just like against Point Pleasant Beach in the Central Jersey Group 1 title game, Middlesex loaded the bases and won the game.
In that game, however, the Jays loaded the bases with no outs. This time, it was a little more dramatic.
Ty Nicolay, the nine-hitter, led the inning off with a single. Stephen Young followed with the same.
Woodstown head coach Mark DiCastro had seen enough, and pulled Reiger for Lucas Prendergast, who had started the game at second base. The junior started well, striking out the hero in the game against the Gulls, Anthony Long.
On a 1-0 pitch, Ryan Vollmer hit a ground ball to first that could have been the ballgame. First baseman Tyler Wolf fielded a few feet from the bag, threw to second, but the toss was wide and pulled second Baseman Brant Williams – who moved over from third to replace Prendergast, now on the mound, off the bag. Everyone was safe.
Even had Wolf just gotten the one out, the game would have been over when Raiden Yost flied out to left. Instead, there were two out and the bases still loaded.
That brought up Bobby Ulmer, who quickly found himself in an 0-2 hole.
On the next pitch, he found the lawn behind the left field fence, and it was all over. A walk-off grand slam, capping a wild comeback, and giving Middlesex its second straight state playoff walkoff win.
Click below to hear postgame reaction from Middlesex’s 7-5 Group 1 semifinal win against Woodstown: