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Cutters win again in walk-off fashion
August 2, 2012 - Mitch Rupert
By MITCH RUPERT
Zach Taylor flipped the bat toward the first-base side on-deck circle and slowly trotted to first. Mitch Walding trotted home after the fourth ball bounced toward Aberdeen catcher Sam Kimmel.
The celebration was initially subdued, but Williamsport won its second consecutive game in walk-off fashion Thursday night at Bowman Field. Then Taylor reached first base and gave a high five to first-base coach Rafael DeLima before the Crosscutters’ hitting coach jumped on Taylor’s back.
The rest of the team followed suit, pushing Taylor toward second base, beating on his head, pushing him around and jumping on his back to celebrate the victory. The Cutters’ 6-5 win over Aberdeen was just the second time this year they’ve won back-to-back games and the first time since June 22-23 against Auburn, which was the second series of the season.
“A win’s a win,” Walding said in the postgame interview over the public address system of Bowman Field.
After a 6-23 July, this Cutters team will take any win they can get. And for the second straight night Williamsport did it in comeback fashion after relinquishing a lead it held all night in the eighth inning. The Cutters also guaranteed themselves their first series win since a three-game set in Mahoning Valley from June 25-27.
“It’s a new month. That’s what we talked about the end of last month,” Williamsport manager Andy Tracy said. “Just flush that down the toilet and start this new month off. We’ll see what happens this month.”
“Whatever happened, happened and now we start fresh,” said Chace Numata, who went 2 for 2 with an RBI and a walk after pinch-hitting for Cameron Perkins in the seventh inning. “It’s a new beginning. We haven’t had this two-game win streak in a while, so hopefully we can build on it.”
Williamsport led, 3-2, going into the eighth inning last night before the first three batters reached against Ramon Oviedo, including an RBI single from Creede Simpson to tie the game. A sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third and Jeb Stefan replaced Oviedo.
Aberdeen pinch-hitter Sam Kimmel laced a two-run single to right field to give the IronBirds a 5-3 lead. It was the second consecutive night the Cutters lost an eighth-inning lead. Ulises Joaquin surrendered a two-run home run with a one-run lead in the eighth of Wednesday’s series opener.
Williamsport came right back in the bottom of the eighth, sparked by the bottom of the order. Logan Moore and Kyle Hoppy each worked walks and Tyler Greene reached on a fielder’s choice. After Quinn struck out for the second out of the inning, Walding flipped an RBI single into no-man’s land down the left-field line to score Greene.
Numata followed with an RBI single through the hole between first and second to score Hoppy and tie the game. Numata and Walding were two of the three players on the team who were hitting over .300 with runners in scoring position and two outs coming into the game.
“When we have a little momentum like we got there it picks up the team,” Numata said. “The pitchers get a little amped up and an adrenaline rush and it gives us faith and more hope that we can win.”
Jeb Stefan work 2 2/3 great innings out of the bullpen for Williamsport to pick up his first win. He stranded a runner at third in the eighth inning. He left another Aberdeen runner stranded at first in the ninth, and he left the go-ahead run on second in the 10th inning by inducing a pair of pop outs.
Four pitchers out of the bullpen gave up the five runs Aberdeen scored last night, four of which were charged to Ramon Oviedo in his 1 1/3 innings. But Andre Kinder threw a solid inning, allowing just a run after facing second and third with nobody out. Delvin Perez threw a scoreless inning, striking out a pair, and Stefan allowed just two hits in his outing, striking out two.
It all followed another strong start from Kevin Brady who threw four shutout innings allowing just three hits and striking out three. In his 13 innings with the Cutters this year, Brady has struck out 19 and has yet to walk a batter. He’s given up just one run and has a 0.69 ERA.
Roman Quinn made sure the outing wasn’t wasted in the 10th inning when he hit a spinner to third base that Aberdeen’s Torsten Boss couldn’t handle cleanly for an infield single. on the next pitch Quinn stole second base, and when the throw bounced into left field he easily advanced to third base with nobody out.
After intentional walks to Walding and Numata to load the bases, Chris Serritella struck out on three pitches and Larry Greene Jr. ground sharply into a fielder’s choice, cutting down Quinn at the plate.
But Taylor, who reached base three times and scored a pair of runs, worked a five-pitch walk from Sander Beck to end the game.
“When Roman gets on base like that the chance of him scoring is great,” Numata said. “With his speed, he can do whatever he wants pretty much. And if we execute certain hits, he’s scoring.”
“You don’t really want to bunt him over there because he can steal a base,” Tracy said. “He forced their hand on something.”
Moore, Tyler Greene, Hoppy and Taylor were on base a combined 13 times last night, scoring four of the Cutters’ six runs.
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