"This park kinda has a little bit of character like Boston," said Clegg, comparing his diamond, with its measurements of 283 feet in left field, 351 in center and 251 in right, to that of famed Fenway Park. "Sometimes it helps you, sometimes it hurts you."
Monday afternoon, that short right-field porch was the tell-tale factor in Southeast's dramatic 6-5 Portage County League American Division win over Crestwood.
Trailing 5-4 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning and teammate Carl Dorris on first, Southeast's Nick Dillon drove a Josh Hunter 3-2 delivery that just continued to carry until it rested in the bushes beyond the right-field wall, giving the Pirates an amazing triumph.
"We've been well-overdue with that wall helping us," said Clegg. "It has character like Fenway. There's nothing we can do about it. That guy (property owner beyond right field) is not going to sell his backyard to us."
Had Crestwood managed to get the final out, the Red Devils (8-4, 1-3 PCL) would have pulled even with the Pirates (10-4, 5-1) in the loss column of the American Division.
But Dillon, who had three hits in the game _ missing the cycle by a triple _ changed all that with one swing.
"I just wanted to keep the inning alive," said Dillon after retrieving his home-run ball. "I just thought it was a fly ball. You never know with it so short out there."
Three pitches prior to Dillon's hit, Hunter nearly struck him out with a borderline pitch that was called a ball.
"You knew one team was going to get its heart broken. Up until that last pitch, I thought it was going to be the Pirates," said Crestwood coach Bob Merritt. "But as it turned out, we were the ones that got our heart broken.
"We were one pitch from being tied for first place right now. It was quite a swing. They played well, they didn't quit either. Hats off to those guys."
Dillon was not the only one who had a flair for the dramatic. In the top of the seventh, Crestwood first baseman Casey Ailiff, whose throwing error in the bottom of the sixth put Southeast ahead 4-3, redeemed himself considerably with a two-out, two-run double off Southeast winning pitcher Nick Dean.
But according to Dillon, the Pirates did not get too demoralized.
"We just wanted to keep our heads up and get one guy on and give us a chance to score," he said. "We just wanted to get him around. Carl did a good job of getting on."
Hunter and Brian Moore each had a single and solo home run _ back-to-back blasts in the third _ for the Red Devils.
Damian Root added a solo shot for Southeast and Ryan Groves contributed a two-run single.
Southeast 6, Crestwood 5
CRESTWOOD 002 010 2 _ 5 6 1
SOUTHEAST 200 101 2 _ 6 7 1
Josh Hunter & Ted Crane. Nick Dean & Jake Berkley.
WP _ Dean (4-2). LP _ Hunter.