Gens Post Another Comeback In Ninth With Win In Extras
The Generals were down to their last out needing more runs for the second straight night. Tuesday night, it was at home vs the Woodstock River Bandits needing 5 in the ninth. Wednesday it was on the road in Staunton needing three in the ninth.
The game got off to a bit of a slow start for both teams. For Waynesboro, they had just come down off their high from winning over Woodstock in thrilling fashion in a game that lasted well over four hours. Coach Cole admitted after the game that, “We were dead. Everybody was still tired from last night, including me. We had community service early this morning. We were all exhausted.” However, the first run of the game was scored by Waynesboro in the top of the third. Jack Murphy (St. Mary’s) started things off with a single. After two straight hit-by-pitches, the bases were loaded with nobody out. After a strikeout, a wild pitch allowed Murphy to come in and score. Unfortunately, the Gens couldn’t muster up any more offense in the inning.
The Generals scored again in the top of the fourth to make the score 2-0. A double by Joey Kinker (Florida Gulf Coast) got things started. An error on the Braves’ shortstop put runners at the corners with nobody out. The Braves then made another error that allowed Kinker to come in and score. Again the Generals offense stalled with a good situation in front of them. They had runners at first and second with nobody out after the run scored, and they weren’t able to bring anyone else in.
It was in the bottom of the 5th that the Braves struck for all six of their runs in the ballgame. A single by Pastore, a walk to Selden, an RBI double by Brown, and a two RBI single by Brophy put three runs on the board. A pitching change was made for the Generals, but it really didn’t slow down the Braves offense. Two walks loaded the bases before a single brought in another run for the Braves. Finally, it looked like the Gens were going to settle in on the mound. A huge strikeout of the league’s leading RBI man in Andrew Czech gave the Gens their first out of the inning. After a tapper back to the mound looked like it could be the double play the Gens were looking for, an errant throw on the back end sent the ball into the right field corner and allowed another run and gave the Braves another out to work with. Another error by the Gens allowed the sixth and final run to score. The score after five complete innings read 6-2 in favor of the homestanding Braves.
One of the biggest strengths of this General team is that they take the opposing team’s best punch, and always seem to have an answer back. They continued that with Joey Kinker continuing his great night in the very next half inning. He doubled to instantly put a runner in scoring position. Jackson Tate (Alabama) worked a walk to put runners at first and second. After a wild pitch, both runners moved into scoring position with nobody out. Jack Murphy came up with a sacrifice fly to center to bring a run in, but that would end the General rally. The score after six complete was 6-3.
That score would remain until the top of the ninth. In that inning, things seemed to just be on the Braves side. After a walk, the next hitter would hit a ground ball to the shortstop. The ball came up on him, glanced off his chest right into the glove of the second baseman who turned the double play to clear the bases with two outs in the inning and the Generals still needing three runs. Kobe Lopez (Florida International) reached on an error by the Braves’ third baseman to keep things alive. Bryson Worrell (East Carolina) then singled to center to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of the hot hitting Joey Kinker. Two pitches into the at-bat, Joey drilled one high and deep to right centerfield that disappeared into the pines beyond the right field fence. TIE BALLGAME courtesy of Joey Kinker’s first homer of the summer.
The Braves tried to respond in the bottom of the ninth to pick up a walk-off win. After a walk, Andrew Czech came to the plate again. He ripped a ball that seemed to be destined for center field that would have put runners at first and second. But shortstop Kobe Lopez had other ideas. He dove to his left, making a sensational, full-extension dive and catch for out number one. He then had the presence of mind to get to his feet and deliver a strike across the diamond to double up the runner at first. The momentum had now shifted completely into the Generals favor.
They didn’t waste the momentum in the 10th. Jackson Greene (Florida State) ripped a double down the left field line. Jack Murphy dropped down a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt to move Greene to third. The Gens tried to play more small ball with Brad Burckel (U of Houston) at the plate. His bunt was a hard one right back to the pitcher who was able to flip on to the catcher to nab Greene for out number two. However, on the very first pitch in the next at-bat, Burckel stole second base and headed for third on an errant throw by the catcher. The centerfielder saw Burckel going to third and was going to try to throw him out. There was only one problem… He forgot to field the ball, and it rolled past him deeper into centerfield. Burckel then rounded third and headed for home, making it easily on the second error on the Braves on the same play. The Generals lead going into the bottom of the 10th by a score of 7-6.
Waynesboro turned to Nick Zegna (George Mason) to shut the door in the bottom of the 10th. The tall righty came to the mound filled to the brim with confidence. He went three up, three down, and struck out two in the process for his first save of the summer. The Gens had completed their second comeback victory in as many nights.
Key Performers for Staunton:
Duncan Pastore: 2-4, 2 SB, R
Colin Brophy: 2-4, 2 RBI
Ronald Brown: 1-5, 2B, RBI
Key Performers for Waynesboro:
Jack Murphy (St. Mary’s): 2-3, RBI, R
Kobe Lopez (Florida International): 2-5, SB, R
Joey Kinker (Florida Gulf Coast): 3-5, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 3 R
Daniel Casto (Memphis): W (1-1), 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K
Nick Zegna (George Mason): SV (1), 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
The Cardiac Gens (12-7) will be back in action on Thursday night at home vs the Winchester Royals. First pitch at Integrity Home Mortgage Park at Kate Collins Field is set for 7 pm.