Bradenton Marauders 5, Fort Myers Miracle 4 (11 innings)
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The Marauders broke a 6-inning-long tie with a run in the bottom of the 11th to get this win. With one out in the 11th, LF Adalberto Santos singled into left field, then stole second base. C Carlos Paulino walked, and SS Benji Gonzalez loaded the bases with a single up the middle. RF Robbie Grossman was the hero, when he brought in Santos on a line drive single into right field to take the win.
The Marauders had scored first, with 4 runs in the first three innings. Grossman walked to lead off the bottom of the 1st. He stole second base, then scored on 1B Aaron Baker’s double into right field. Santos reached base on a fielding error in the 2nd, and scored on Paulino’s double. Paulino went to third on the throw, and he scored on a squeeze bunt by Benji Gonzalez. The Marauders added their fourth run on a double by 2B Jarek Cunningham and a triple by DH Calvin Anderson in the 3rd.
Brett Sinkbeil made the start for Bradenton. He allowed only a double over the first two innings, then gave up 2 runs in the top of the 3rd on a single, a walk, and a 2-RBI double. A solo homer gave the Miracle another run in the 4th. Sinkbeil was relieved by Brian Leach to begin the 5th, and Leach gave up the tying run on a triple and a sacrifice fly.
The 4-4 tie lasted from the 5th until the 11th. The Marauders had just 2 hits from the 5th through the 9th, both singles
by Baker. They threatened in the 10th, when Gonzalez, Grossman, and Cunningham all singled (bunt hits by Grossman and Cunningham), loading the bases with no outs. But a strikeout and two pop outs left all three runners on base. Leach pitched a scoreless 6th inning, then was relieved by Jhonathan Ramos. Ramos had control issues, walking the first two batters he faced, then getting a strikeout and a ground out to put both runners into scoring position. Duke Welker came in to get the final strikeout of the 7th, then he pitched two more scoreless innings, allowing a hit in each. Ryan Beckman walked a batter in the 10th and two more (one intentionally) in the top of the 11th, to maintain the tie. That set up the bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the 11th, for the Marauders’ win.
Lakewood BlueClaws 4, West Virginia Power 3 (15 innings)
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This marathon took 15 innings to finish. Lakewood scored one unearned run off Power starter Colton Cain in the 1st, on a throwing error by 3B Eric Avila, then a stolen base, a walk, a fly out, and a steal of home. The Blue Claws added another run (earned) in the 2nd on a pair of doubles. Cain pitched 4 more innings and allowed only two more hits.
The Power started the game with only one hit over the first 3 innings — a double by CF Mel Rojas. They threatened in the 4th, when singles by 2B Andy Vasquez and RF Dan Grovatt and a walk by 1B Justin Howard loaded the bases, but two strikeouts and a ground out ended that rally with three runners left on base. The Power got onto the scoreboard in the 6th, when they loaded the bases again with walks to Grovatt and Howard and DH Chase Lyles being hit by a pitch. Rojas’s grounder force out erased Lyles at second but let Grovatt score from third. A double play ended that rally. Howard’s single and Lyles’ RBI double tied the score in the top of the 8th.
Reliever Zac Fuesser took over for Cain and pitched a scoreless 7th inning. Jason Townsend contributed 2 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit. Porfirio Lopez took over in the top of the 10th and pitched 5 innings. Lakewood threatened in the 12th, when Lopez gave up two walks and threw two wild pitches, but two fly outs ended the inning without a run scoring.
The Power scored a run in the top of the 13th when Howard walked, and Lyles bunted into a force out at second. With Lyles on first, Rojas and C Elias Diaz both singled. That brought in Lyles with what the Power hoped was the winning run. But Lakewood scored in the bottom of the inning on a double and a single. Lopez continued to pitch a scoreless 14th, while the Power put two runners on in the top of the 14th with walks to Howard and Lyles, but couldn’t score. The Power went down in order in the top of the 15th.
Kevin Decker came on to pitch the bottom of the 15th. After a ground out, Diaz missed the catch on one foul pop, but caught the batter’s next foul pop for the second out. The next batter singled, then a single into right field was misplayed by Grovatt in right field, and the lead runner came around to score.