By Bob Kopp

BDR Sports Correspondent

BELVIDERE – After feting graduating seniors Drake Dutz, Matt Kopp, Kyle Kozlowski, Erik Moraza, Ryan Snyder, Troy Snyder, and Andrew Wesley, Bucs broadcaster Todd Humphrey said, “Congratulations to our graduates and their families; and remember seniors, ‘Once a Buc Always a Buc!'”

While Belvidere doesn’t always win every game in every sport, the “Buc Tough” legend continues unabated.  With dedicated coaches, players, families, and fans, opposing teams know Belvidere comes to play whenever Bucs lace their shoes.

Senior night was no exception as the Bucs rallied in the bottom of the 7th to beat visiting Auburn 9-8.

Head Coach Andrew Walters insists on respect for the game and each other as he teaches skills without sacrificing character development.  His Churchillian “Never, never, never quit!” attitude is contagious as evidenced by Belvidere’s stirring comeback to score five runs in the 7th to split the season series with the Knights.

Auburn scored two runs in the top of the first on an error, single, and double for a quick 2-0 lead as the Bucs went down in order in the bottom of the inning.

Junior Austin Revolinski struck out the side in the top of the second and the Bucs put a run on the scoreboard with a single by junior Anthony Cottichio who crossed home after a single by Wesley, walk to Dutz, and walk to sophomore Brady Hauser.

Belvidere knotted the game 2-2 in the bottom of the third as Revolinski opened with a single, then moved to third on a passed ball and throwing error, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Cottichio.

The Knights exploded for six runs in the top of the fifth on seven consecutive hits to take what the visiting bleachers assumed was an insurmountable 8-2 lead.

Ryan Snyder relieved Revolinski in the fifth and held the Knights scoreless for the rest of the game so the Bucs could inch back in the bottom of the 6th and then seal the deal in the bottom of the 7th.

Behind 8-2 in the bottom of the 6th, Kozlowski led off with single and moved to third after junior Josh Kugler singled and Dutz walked.  Hauser knocked in Kozlowski with a sacrifice ground out and then Kugler scored on a passed ball to end the inning 8-4.

Snyder shut down the Knights in the top of the 7th to set the stage for the Bucs dramatic 7th inning comeback victory.

The five-run rally began with Snyder walking and advancing to second on a passed ball.

With Auburn’s reliever quickly striking out the next batter, Knights fans were encouraged and vocal.  That ended when Cottichio walked, junior Nico Reza singled, and Kugler doubled to deep left to knock in Snyder and Cottichio and draw the Bucs close 8-6.  That’s when the bottom fell out for Auburn as they walked Dutz, Hauser, junior Jacob Rodgriquez, and Snyder again with Kugler crossing the plate to help Belvidere celebrate Senior Night.

After a slow start, Bucs baseball may follow Bucs basketball and be the surprise of the post-season.

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