IronBirds prevail 9-8 in 10 innings Friday

(Courtesy Aberdeen IronBirds )
July 16, 2011

The Aberdeen IronBirds exacted some revenge on Friday for the previous night's extra-inning loss, beating the visiting Vermont LakeMonsters 9-8 in 10 innings.

The victory put Aberdeen at 7-21 on the year, still in last place in the New York-Penn League's McNamara Division.

With the score tied 8-8 in the bottom half of the 10th, Aberdeen's Glynn Davis earn a one-out walk after Martin Serrata struck out. On a heads up running play, Davis broke for third when Austin Knight hit a high bouncer between first and second. Knight was thrown out at first, but Davis beat the throw to third by a hair, putting the game-winning run 90 feet from home.

Mychal Givens came up next and walked, which put runners at the corners. Cleanup hitter Joe Velleggia then stepped to the plate with the game in his hands, and hit a Baltimore chop toward the Vermont second baseman, whose hurried throw hit Velleggia in the ribs, allowing Davis to scurry home for the game-winning run.

"I was looking to get a fastball and hit something into the outfield hard," Velleggia said after the game. "Seeing a couple pitches, my mind said 'yes, yes, yes', then 'no' at the last second, and I had check swings twice. On that second one I was lucky enough to bounce something over the pitcher. I saw it get over the pitcher, and I know I'm not the fastest guy in the world, but I was going to give it my all and make it a tough play. Once the ball actually drilled me in the side, I said 'okay, game over,' and that was nice."

Trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the third, Aberdeen struck back with a three-run outburst. Dudley Leonora started things with a one-out double into the left field gap, and Davis followed with a two-out single that moved Leonora over to third. With Knight at bat, Leonora broke for the plate as the Vermont hurler came to a set position, and was able to slide in ahead of the throw for a steal of home. Davis stole second on the play, and took third when the Lake Monster catcher sent his throw into center field. Knight earned a walk to put two men on base, and Givens blasted a base-clearing double that tied things up 3-3.

After Vermont scored to take a 4-3 lead in the top half of the fourth, the IronBirds bats answered in the fifth with another three-run rally. Davis came up second after Serrata popped out, and slammed a ball over the left field fence for his first homer of the year. Knight reached base on a passed ball after striking out swinging, but was then caught stealing second base. Now with two men down, Givens hit a groundball single up the middle, then moved over to second on a failed pickoff attempt, and Velleggia cracked a base hit over second base that brought his teammate home. Wynston Sawyer followed Velleggia with an RBI double that put Aberdeen up 6-4.

Aberdeen's half of the sixth featured a one of the baseball's scariest scenarios, a beaning. Leading off the inning was catcher Adam Davis, who took a fastball from the Lake Monster reliever directly off the side of his helmet. Davis took two steps out of the batters box, kneeled, then rolled over on his back. After being checked by a trainer,, the Aberdeen catcher walked to the clubhouse rubbing his head.

Vermont came up with three runs of its own in the top of the sixth, then padded their lead with another run in the seventh to go up 8-6.

In the eighth frame, Austin Goolsby reached first with a one-out single, and moved to second on a wild pitch. Serrata later came to the plate with two outs and knocked an RBI single into right, putting the IronBirds one behind the Lake Monsters.

Aberdeen mounted a comeback in the bottom of the ninth, with Knight leading off with a walk, and Givens getting to first on a bunt single. Velleggia moved both men over with a sacrifice bunt up the first base line, while Sawyer loaded up the bases when he was intentionally walked. Connor Narron tied things up 8-8 with a sacrifice fly to right that allowed Knight to tag up and score from third. After Goolsby struck out, Leonora hit a hard liner toward left field, but the Vermont third baseman snagged it and forced Givens out at the bag, sending the game into extra innings.

Reliever Orlando Alfonso tossed one perfect inning, striking out one in the top of the 10th to earn his first win of the season.

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