Clutch Comeback in 7th Conquers Rival Rangers
Rommen Field, Thurs. Aug. 13,
Glorious sunshine was a perfect setting for this 6pm start, but the sharp sunlight and long evening shadows played tricks on both teams’ fielders all game.
SP Luis Lara had a shaky beginning as the Rangers came out aggressively with 5 singles and a walk to score 4 runs in the first. P-hitters answered with 7 big runs in the second, started by Luis’ ROE and Darren’s single, then Nate’s 2-RBI double, which is fast becoming his trademark hit. Emanuell singled and Terje reached on an E-6 with two outs to set up Kelly for an RBI double. Leif then blasted a line-drive homer to left for his 3rd round-tripper of the season.
The Rangers rebounded with two runs in the 2nd and another in the 3rd to tie the game at 7-7. P-batters responded with 3 runs in the 4th off Terje’s RBI double, Kelly’s single and an E-6 off Luis’ bat that scored both of them.
But Ranger hitters roared back with 3 runs, 2 runs and 1 run to take a 10-7 lead into the fateful seventh inning. (The Rangers scored in every inning of this game.)
Down 13-10 entering the dramatic 7th inning, Nate led off the Pretenders’ do-or-die rally with a hard-hit grounder that 3B Tadas could not handle. (Tadas had pitched the first 5 innings and was in line for the W; his fellow Lithuanian Robertas had relieved in the 6th and mowed down the heart of the P-lineup, so the situation looked bleak for the visiting Pretenders.) After Rob and Emanuell struck out, Martinius kept the P-hopes alive with a critical single to score Nate. Next up, representing the tying run, was Terje, who battled with two strikes and grounded toward 1B, where Freddy could not corral the ball in time. Still down by two runs, Kelly stepped to the plate with two runners aboard. He let Terje steal second, and then smacked an ultra-clutch single into left-center to plate both Martinius and Terje and tie the contest at 13-13.
Once Kelly stole second, the Rangers chose to intentionally walk power hitter Leif. Luis then reached on an E-5 that scored both runners for a two-run advantage. The rally continued as Darren lined the first pitch into left field, then Nate singled up the middle to drive in Luis and Darren for a 17-13 lead. Pretender batters had plated 7 gritty runs, all with 2 outs. By this time the lead had changed 6 times.
Leif took the mound to start the bottom half of the 7th, as Luis had already faced 44 batters. The Rangers managed a walk and two hits, but Leif induced a flyout to center, a comebacker-to-home disputed tagout, and a groundout to second to secure the improbable victory.
Winning pitcher Luis kept battling the entire back-and-forth game, at times frustrated by the defensive miscues but never losing focus through 146 pitches… CF Nate made a tremendous throw after a catch in left center to double off the runner at first… Nate and Kelly each racked up 2 singles and a double… Martinius, with his two singles, now leads the team with a .458 batting average.