Oh, Baby Schark! Home run with two outs in ninth sends Gems home victorious

28 Matt Schark Headshot

Matt Schark

QUINCY — Matt Schark’s walk-up music was changed before he stepped to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. The catchy children’s song “Baby Shark” blared instead throughout QU Stadium’s loudspeakers.

Three pitches later, Schark had taken a bite out of the Springfield Sliders.

Schark belted a home run to right-center field off Sliders reliever Mac Hickman to give the Quincy Gems a 6-5 victory on Tuesday night in a Prospect League game.

Quincy (13-14) has won four of its last five games. It is a half-game behind Burlington for second place in the West-Great River Division. Normal (14-11) has clinched the first-half division title. Play in the first half ends after Wednesday night’s games.

Nick Terrell’s single scored Zach Wilson in the top of the seventh inning to give the Sliders a 5-4 lead. Quincy tied the score in the bottom of the seventh. Alec Patino beat out a high hopper over the pitcher’s mound for an infield single, driving in Danny Sperling.

Connery O’Donnell pitched 1⅔ innings of scoreless relief to earn the victory. A single, a walk and a balk put runners on first and third in the top of the ninth, but O’Donnell got Gunnar Smith to ground out to end the threat.

Sperling had two doubles for the Gems, and Jackson Galloway had two hits.

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