Ian Golembiewski has a new nickname.
“The Iceman cometh,” said Whitmer baseball coach Gary O’Connor of the Panthers’ hero from Thursday’s 5-4 nonleague victory at Anthony Wayne.
Golembiewski was that Iceman, driving in what proved to be the winning runs in the top of the sixth inning, then taking the mound in a dicey bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the seventh inning to preserve the win.
“He’s the kind of guy where nothing fazes him,” O’Connor said. “He’ll come in and be able to throw strikes in that situation. He came up with that big hit and then came in to pitch.
“Maybe that’s his calling — play a little outfield, and then come in to close the game. You couldn’t have asked for a bigger hit in that moment.”
Golembiewski’s efforts helped Whitmer (4-5) come out on top in a game in which all of the usual statistics pointed to an Anthony Wayne victory.
The Generals (6-4) out-hit the Panthers 12-5, drew five walks, had a hit batsman, and had four other batters reach base on errors.
But AW left 15 runners on base.
“Our pitching was good enough to win, but the bottom line was we didn’t get the big hit,” Anthony Wayne coach Mark Nell said, “and I made my own boo-boo.
“We left too many runners on base. Give their guy some credit. He made the pitch when he had to."
Whitmer took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Tylor Schneider tripled down the left-field line and scored on Golembiewski’s groundout to third. The Panthers added a run in the fifth after leadoff hitter Shamus Dempsey drew a two-out walk from AW starter Mason Zimmerman. Dempsey stole second, then scored on a single to center from pinch-hitter Anthony Okdie.
The Generals chased Whitmer starting pitcher Nick Kozak with one out in the bottom of the fifth after getting consecutive singles from Alex Murphy (3-for-3, plus two walks), Peyton Brown, and Aaron Stark.
Chuck LeMay, who would eventually earn the win, relieved Kozak, and promptly hit D.J. Komisarek with a pitch to load the bases.
Nell called for a suicide squeeze, which Alex Meyers executed to tie the game 2-2. But Nell, who blamed himself, waved Stark around to follow Brown home. Stark was caught between third and home, and the Panthers eventually tagged Komisarek for the second out. LeMay struck out Chase Gottschalk for the third out.
Whitmer’s three-run sixth began with Jacob Czop chasing Zimmerman with a leadoff single. AW reliever Michael Conklin walked Hunter Nichols, and Schneider beat out a bunt to load the bases.
Third baseman Meyers fielded Dan Tober’s grounder to force Czop out at home. But Komisarek’s relay throw to first in a bid for a double play was dropped by Gottschalk, and Nichols scored the go-ahead run.
Golembiewski then delivered his big two-run single to left for a 5-2 lead.
Whitmer’s third pitcher, Devin Dempsey, yielded a leadoff single to Meyers to open the seventh, but AW pinch-hitter Alex Vogel lined into a double play.
Whitmer shortstop Shamus Dempsey then barehanded Vince Schneider’s chopper, but first baseman Nichols dropped the throw. Josh Schwerer followed with a single, Chad Windom walked to load the bases, and Devin Dempsey walked Murphy to force in a run.
Golembiewski retired Brown on a come-backer for the final out.
“I was just trying to keep my head down and swing and hit the ball, and that’s exactly what I did,” Golembiewski said of his two-run single. “When I came in to pitch I was just thinking, ‘Just get the out.’ I had no nerves. It didn’t faze me at all. I just wanted to throw strikes and get the out.”