Wild "Walk" Off Win
For those who didn't attend Thursday night's game, you missed out on arguably the best Thirsty Thursday yet. Not only was the ballgame as enticing as ever, but fans were also treated with a free hour of drinking because of the rain delay that pushed first pitch from 7:05 to
For those who didn't attend Thursday night's game, you missed out on arguably the best Thirsty Thursday yet. Not only was the ballgame as enticing as ever, but fans were also treated with a free hour of drinking because of the rain delay that pushed first pitch from 7:05 to 8:10 pm. Once the rain subsided and fans returned to their water-ridden seats, the players wasted no time jump-start the action.
With a runner on second and two down, TJ Hopkins pounded a ball into the dirt that had Moises Castillo retreating. Along with a hesitation, Castillo did his best to gun down Hopkins, but he should've realized it was too little too late and turned to home. Mike Siani started on second base for Chattanooga and never slowed down for one second, allowing him to score without a throw on an infield single.
Almost immediately, though, Jose Rodriguez answered with an almost exact carbon copy from the night before. In a 2-0 count, Popeye jumped on a hanger and destroyed it for his third home run of the season. From there, both Birmingham's Sean Burke and Chattanooga's Carson Spiers settled down and silenced bats for two innings.
Finally, in the fourth, the Barons recorded their second and third hits of the night. Of course, in the same sense, they too recorded their second and third runs. First, Craig Dedelow blasted his 20th of the year a whopping 426 feet. Then, just two batters later, Oscar Colas showcased his otherworldly power and skill by hitting his sixth big fly in just 14 games thus far.
To everyone's surprise, the 3-1 lead faded almost instantly, as Birmingham's best reliever, Felix Paulino, surrendered his first earned runs since July 7th. Specifically, the right-handed pitcher covered 10.2 innings before letting two Lookouts score in the fifth. Two doubles and a single by Chattanooga highlighted their comeback frame. Yet again, the bats disappeared into the night as both sides went into the exxtra innings inning, still tied at three apiece.
As true with most of the second half, Birmingham's bullpen performed very well in the back end of the night. Specifically, four arms came into the game and shut the door on anything Chattanooga offered. Not counting the unearned ghost runs, which come in extra innings with the free base runner on second, Theo Denlinger, Fraser Ellard, Edgar Navarro, and Yoelvin Silven combined to shove six-and-two-thirds of _one _hit baseball! Furthermore, the group walked just three while fanning five.
Ironically enough, extra innings centered around the offenses. In the tenth, Chattanooga scratched across one run thanks to a hit-by-pitch and by dribbling balls much too slow for a double-play. Birmingham, on the other hand, opted for the sacrifice bunt, which actually proved to be irrelevant because Evan Skoug stepped in to smack an RBI double. However, Jose Rodriguez and Craig Dedelow missed their opportunity to become the hero.
In the 11th, the Lookouts benefited from a Yoelvin Silven wild pitch. Otherwise, their sacrifice flyout would've been a moot point, as Silven didn't waiver whatsoever. The bottom half of the inning escalated very quickly, only for it to suddenly come to a brief, anti-climatic, yet widely anticipated end. Recently entered Ivan Gonzalez immediately fell behind 0-2 but battled hard by fouling a couple off and taking some extremely close pitches. Ultimately, the hard work paid off as Gonzalez lined one just inside the left-field line for a clutch double.
With Oscar Colas hotter than the sun right now, Chattanooga wasted no time in intentionally walking him. Then, Yoelqui Cespedes killed a hard line drive on a frozen rope just out of the reach of a leaping short stop. Doing so caused Gonzalez to freeze slightly, which, in turn, led to him being gunned down at the plate by a large margin. Nevertheless, the Lookouts looked to the bullpen to face iceman J.J. Muno. The left-on-left matchup also became a moot point rather quickly as on the very first pitch, Andy Fisher plunked Muno in the back.
And finally, the table was set, over four-and-half hours, including delay, into the night, and the bases were juiced with two down in a 4-4 ballgame. Moises Castillo, the young 23-year-old, stepped in and did arguably the hardest thing imaginable... nothing. He watched as Fisher missed on three straight pitches. Castillo then took a strike but remained patient, and as that fifth pitch came in, he didn't get overzealous and try to do more than he needed; he simply watched that ball miss the zone and walked to first base as the literal walk-off hero.