Boxscore | Game Story
In the words of Bugs Bunny in What’s Opera, Doc? “What? You were expecting a happy ending?!”
- Putting the end result aside for a moment – and possibly for longer than that. What a game! Matt Erickson stopped at my spot on the bus after we were on the road out of town. “I thought we stole that one,” he said. I thought so, too.
- I know that I’ve talked a lot about how this Timber Rattlers team doesn’t give up and keeps fighting to the last out or last swing or last whatever. This game should cement that thought in your minds.
- Look at it this way. The Rattlers were down 10-3 with five outs left to play in the game. Yeah, the bases were loaded. But, Max Walla was facing lefty reliever Stephen Tromblee. Max was 7-for-50 (Corrected: Was originally 7-for-49) against left-handers before the at bat in the eighth against Tromblee. Tromblee is really good against both left-handers and right-handers. He pulls a ball into the corner for a triple and the Rattlers are within 10-6.
- There were other plate appearances in that inning that drove in runs and were a lot flashier in the boxscore, but I want to point to the walk Adrian Williams drew after Walla’s triple. He was down in the count 1-2. If Williams, who arrived after the game started and entered the game as a pinch runner, makes an out there that kills the momentum and I am writing about a different “What might have been” situation. Instead, he fouls off some pitches, works the count full, draws a walk, and sets up the rest of the inning. Welcome back, @A__Williams13.
- There were two bunt singles tonight. One was a good bunt single. The other wasn’t. Gary Mitchell has been one of the Kernels to have been frustrated by the Rattlers defensive shift all season. He dropped a bunt single down the third base line to lead off an inning on Friday. There was no score when he bunted. Gary Mitchell is 6’4″, 235 pounds with 11 home runs. He was immediately erased on a double play. Then, Chadwin Stang was up with runners at the corners with one out in the eighth. Stang can homer and has been on a tear of late. But he can also strike out. He bunted up the third base line to score Walla, reach first base and move the inning along to the next guys. Pick the good bunt single and the bad bunt single.
- The next guys were Lance Roenicke (infield single) and Brandon Macias (bloop single to knock in a run)
- Ben McMahan, who started the inning with a single, completed the comeback with a triple. McMahan had two at bats with the bases loaded earlier in the series. He had grounded out to knock in a run on Wednesday. Then, he flew out to right in the fifth inning on Friday night. Third time is a charm! I thought he had hit it out, but it’s 390′ to that part of the outfield. An opposite field triple by McMahan and it’s 11-10 Rattlers.
- This is where we tip the cap to the other team. Tromblee really could have folded after that, but he bounces back to strike out the next two batters and keep it a one run game. Rattlers could have tacked on a few more there. Zach Borenstein with a monster game. 4-for-5, 2 doubles, 2 home runs, six RBI. Game winning home run. Saved the day. If you remember back to Wednesday’s game, Borenstein made the final out in a one-run game by popping up the first pitch from Toledo. He more than made up for that on Friday night. Darn him.
- This is a pretty resilient bunch of players. I – and maybe you – will dwell on this for a bit longer. But, not this group. Thinking too long about a game like Friday will make you crazy if you are a player. Plus, the staff won;t let them think about it too long. The coaching staff offered words of encouragement and pride to the players on the bus as it loaded after the game. Encouragement to keep plugging away through the next couple of days and Pride in not packing it in to get on the bus faster when they were down seven in the eighth. In the words of the philosopher Jake Hoyt: It’s all about smiles and cries. You gotta control your smiles and cries, because that’s all you have and nobody can take that away from you.