It was going to take more than a couple of identified flying objects to knock Alex Holderbach off of his game Sunday.
First, he waited out a brief delay on the dugout steps when play was halted because of a drone that was hovering over the outfield at Modern Woodmen Park.
Then, Holderbach went back to work.
He drove a 2-0 pitch with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning over the fence in right to give the Quad-Cities River Bandits a 4-3 walk-off win over visiting Bowling Green in front of a crowd of 3,011.
“We talk all the time about staying calm in the moment, treat it just like any other at-bat and do what you would normally do,’’ Holderbach said after finishing off a three-hit game. “I wasn’t going to let anything get to me.’’
He did take a little advice that manager Ray Hernandez offered before he walked up to the plate.
“When he was at the top step of the dugout, I told him it had been a while since we had had a walk-off homer,’’ Hernandez said.
“He didn’t miss a breath. He turned and said, ‘That’s about to change,’ and it did. I love that about baseball. It’s pretty cool when things like that happen.’’
Holderbach’s first home run since a May 13 game at Cedar Rapids came at a needed time for Quad-Cities, halting a three-game Midwest League losing streak.
“We needed to find a way to win this game,’’ Holderbach said. “The pitchers did a good job all night, the defense backed them up and we had the right amount of offense to get it done.’’
The River Bandits collected their other three runs in the bottom of the third inning.
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Holderbach opened that inning with a single that Jonathan Lacroix followed with a double to left.
Trey Dawson drove both home with a triple that sailed beyond the reach of Izzy Wilson in center, erasing the 1-0 lead the Hot Rods had taken on a Roberto Alvarez sacrifice fly in the second.
Ramiro Rodriguez followed with a sacrifice fly to center that scored Dawson, giving the River Bandits a 3-1 lead.
But Bowling Green, which matched Quad-Cities’ eight hits, nibbled away at the deficit.
Sacrifice flies by Jonathan Aranda in the fifth inning and Alvarez in the sixth tied the game.
“They kind of picked away at it, but our pitchers did a decent job of limiting what we gave them,’’ Hernandez said. “It was a good overall effort by them.’’
River Bandits pitchers Jose Rivera and Felipe Tejada combined to strike out 12 batters while walking just two, finding different ways to keep the Hot Rods off balance.
Tejada allowed just three hits over the final 4.1 innings, improving to 5-0 with the victory.
“Everything Rivera threw was hard and Tejada threw a lot of different pitches that were all missing the bats,’’ said Holderbach, who caught the game for Quad-Cities. “Both of them did a good job all night and the guys in the field, they were there to back them up. Everything worked the way it is supposed to.’’
That included Holderbach’s at-bat in the ninth.
“He’s such a calm guy, that’s his nature,’’ Hernandez said. “He had a job to do. He walked up there and he did it.’’