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Two Clutch Late-Inning Escapes Allow Bay Sox to Claim 5-4 Win in 12 Innings over Pilgrims

June 21, 2018 - New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) - New Bedford Bay Sox News Release

The longest game of the season for the New Bedford Bay Sox ended with two huge escapes in the 10th and 11th inning followed by a run scoring error in the 12th, as the Bay Sox defeated the Plymouth Pilgrims 5-4 on Thursday night.

A grounder to the left side by Ryan Markey (St. John's) was fielded by Plymouth's William Howza, but the shortstop's attempt to begin an inning-ending double was errant, allowing Jack Winkler (San Francisco) to score the winning run in a wild affair that lasted over three and a half hours.

Plymouth trailed throughout the contest until Ryan Solomon hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning to tie the game at 4-4. The Pilgrims loaded the bases in the 10th and 11th innings but failed to score, setting the stage for the drama in the 12th that sent Bay Sox fans - and players - home happy and put New Bedford back over .500 at 8-7 on the season.

On paper, Thursday night's contest between the New Bedford Bay Sox and the Plymouth Pilgrims looked like it would be a classic pitching duel, as both Jared Shuster (Wake Forest) and Cameron Junker have been two of the top hurlers in the league. Shuster led the league with 25 Ks in 16.2 innings, while Junker had not allowed a run in two starts with a ridiculous 15:1 strikeout to walk ratio. Both pitchers did not factor into the decision, and neither had outings representative of their previous showings, as Shuster only fanned one Pilgrim in four innings, while Junker gave up four runs (three earned) and three walks in five innings on the hill.

A heads-up play by the Bay Sox led to the first run of the evening, as the home team was able to scratch across a run off of a nearly unhittable hurler. Chandler Debrosse (Central Connecticut State) led off with a single, which was just the fifth hit allowed by Junker this season. Debrosse moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on an error by Junker, as the righty attempted a pickoff throw. Andrew Rapoza (Barry) joined Debrosse on the bases with a one-out walk, and was on the move when Markey grounded to short. Rapoza beat the toss to second, as the Pilgrims tried to end the inning with a 6-4-3 double play, and his heady running allowed Debrosse to come in through the back door to plate the first run allowed by Junker and a prompt 1-0 lead.

Rafe Chaumette (Trinity) made a terrific diving play in center field to begin the third, as the junior from Sugarland, TX robbed Solomon of extra bases by laying out and flashing the leather. That play prevented the Pilgrims from taking the lead in that frame, as Tyler Wyatt drove in Garrett Hiott with a seeing-eye single through the hole between first and second base for Plymouth's first run.

More uncharacteristic wildness from Junker allowed the Bay Sox to regain the lead in the fourth, as a leadoff walk to Markey resulted in a 2-1 lead. Markey stole second, advanced to third on the second wild pitch of the night, and scored on a fly ball hit to center by Robert Emery (San Francisco).

The aggressive nature of New Bedford was on full display in the fifth, as Chaumette stretched a single over the glove of William Howza into a leadoff double. Debrosse laid a perfect bunt down the third base line to place runners on the corners, and the third New Bedford run scored on a balk from Junker. Winkler blooped a single over the head of Wyatt at second base, and he baited right fielder Max Flower to pay attention to him between first and second, which allowed Debrosse to come home with the fourth run of the night.

The Pilgrims had a great chance to cut into the Bay Sox' lead in the seventh, as a walk and a single put runners on first and second with one down. Two strong plays at third base by Markey stranded both ducks on the pond. Plymouth did plate a run in the eighth off of reliever C.J. Dandeneau (UConn), as an error by Markey allowed Wyatt to score after his leadoff single.

Plymouth tied it up in dramatic fashion in the ninth, as Solomon launched a 2-0 pitch over the fence in left for a two-run blast off of Dandeneau. It seemed like a foregone conclusion that the road team would claim their first lead of the night in the 10th, with runners at first and third with no outs, but clutch pitching and shoddy baserunning kept the score knotted at 4-4. Tyler Zell (Suffolk) was struck with a sharp knock up the middle by Cam Walsh, and the ball deflected perfectly to Markey at third, who relayed it to the plate to throw out Hernen Sardinas for the first out. A pop out to Debrosse at second gave Zell the second out, and after a walk loaded the bases, the Bay Sox reliever struck out Solomon to squash the threat.

Plymouth packed the sacks yet again in the 11th on a leadoff double and two free passes, but the Bay Sox infield came through yet again, with Winkler and Debrosse making game-saving plays to prevent the Pilgrims from scoring.

The Bay Sox host the Sanford Mainers on Friday night, and round out the week with two road tilts on the weekend against the Winnipesaukee Muskrats on Saturday and these same Pilgrims on Sunday. Both Plymouth and New Bedford are currently 1.5 games back of first-place Ocean State in the tightly-contested Southern Division, where all six teams are separated by just 2.5 games after Thursday night's play.

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