Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sunday Thriller

The Rays won three exciting come-from-behind games in Nashville this past weekend, two of them in their last at-bat against 18U teams. The excitement grew with each game, culminating with Bradley’s bases-loaded single to drive in the winning run late Sunday afternoon. Here is a rundown of the Nashville games, from last to first:

ECB Rays…………..5

Nashville Cyclones…4

After surrendering two runs and three hits to the first three Cyclone batters in the Sunday afternoon game, Dustin retired the next ten batters in order. He finished with seven strikeouts against just one walk, and allowed only two more hits from the next twenty batters. He received excellent defensive support: First-baseman Tyler made a nice backhanded catch of a line drive hit right at him, and Austin made a difficult catch in left, sliding on his knees.

The Rays slowly crept back to tie the game, scoring single runs in the 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th. ..all by the leadoff hitter in each inning:

2nd…Will hit a line drive single up the middle, stole second & third on consecutive pitches, & scored on Cole’s grounder.

4th…Bradley reached first, stole second, and scored on Tyler’s double to left.

5th…Austin walked on a full count, advanced to second on RT’s grounder, and scored on Jake’s two-out single to right-center.

6th…Bradley doubled to left –center, stole third, and scored on Cole’s single to left.

Jake came on to pitch a 1-2-3 seventh, striking out two of the three batters.

With one out in the bottom of the seventh, pinch-hitter Kyle reached first on an error. Connor ran for him, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Jake was then intentionally walked. Parker hit a potential game-ending double-play grounder to the shortstop, but the Cyclone infielder made his second error of the inning. Bases-loaded, one out, winning run on third.

The corner infielders played in, and the outfielders were drawn in as well. The shortstop and second-baseman stayed at double-play depth. Bradley stepped into the box and worked the count full. By this point in the weekend, I felt confident the Rays would win. I was just excited to be able to watch how they’d do it.

The Cyclone pitcher delivered the payoff pitch, and Bradley pulled a line drive. The second-baseman leaped and stretched his glove arm high. Were he to snare it, he could possibly double one of the three runners off base, and win the game with a double play. Instead the line drive soared over his mitt and landed safely in right-center field, for the game-winning base hit. The team streamed out of the dugout and mobbed Bradley as he crossed first.

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