Fielder’s choice walkoff lifts Lynchburg
The Hillcats snapped their three game losing streak in walk-off fashion. Not in the way you would suspect. An RBI fielder’s choice was the final play as new Hillcat Tim Smith becomes a hero in the 4-3 victory.
The Hillcats were off to a terrible start on the 4th Annual Autism Awareness Night at Lynchburg City Stadium. The game started with a pop bunt that fell between starter Dimasther Delgado and catcher Braeden Schlehuber. Rushing the throw with Teodoro Martinez running, Schlehuber air mailed it over Chris Garcia’s head at first base. Martinez recognized the mistake and took second. Jared Hoying was next to the plate. He lined a hot shot down the third base side that was deflected by Edward Salcedo. Martinez broke for third and Salcedo tried to regroup and throw an off-balance throw to shortstop Nick Ahmed, who was cover the bag. The throw was low and went into left field, Martinez headed home and Hoying took second. Delgado settled down and retired the next three batters to escape the inning trailing 1-0.
Salcedo made up for his fourth error in his last two games at third by crushing a ball over the head of Jake Skole in center. Skole missed the cut-off man and Salcedo took advantage and raced to third. Chris Garcia wasted no time and ripped a single that was knocked down by Edwin Garcia. Salcedo scored to knot it up at 1-1. Schlehuber added a single with one out and Garcia went to second. Next up was the speedy Kyle Rose who hit a slow roller to Edwin Garcia. A creative under the arm flip got Schlehuber at first, but the throw to first was not in time. Runners were now at the corners for Matt Lipka. On a 2-1 count, both runners broke and the Pelicans catcher, Tomas Telis, decided to try to throw out Rose. The throw was low and went underneath the glove of Edwin Garcia, Rose went to third and Chris Garcia scored the ‘Cats second run. Rose was stranded at third.
The top of the third started exactly as the Hillcats’ bottom of the second did. A lead-off double off the bat of Edwin Garcia was the first extra base hit surrendered by Delgado. Garcia reached third on a sharply hit one-out single from Hoying. With one down, Christian Villanueva got his first RBI of the day on a deep sacrifice fly to center. Garcia scored to make it 2-2.
Chris Garcia hit a 2-2 pitch into the gap with one out in the top of the fourth. After Robby Hefflinger flew out to center, Schlehuber slapped a single between the shortstop and third baseman. Hoying came up throwing, but Garcia beat the throw home with a hook slide for the ‘Cats third run of the game.
Myrtle Beach battled back in the sixth. Martinez started with a single to left. Hoying followed with a single to right, but was cut down trying to stretch it to a double. The relay throw was to Ahmed who won the foot race to the bag and dove to tag out Hoying. Martinez was at third for Villanueva who hit a weak ground ball to Ahmed. Martinez scored on the fielder’s choice to tie the game at three.
Each team threatened but neither could plate a run until the ninth. Ahmed reached base with his second single of the day with one out. A stolen base and wild pitch to Tommy La Stella allowed Ahmed to get to third. The Pelicans eventually intentionally walked La Stella to set-up a force play. Tim Smith was up with runners on the corners and the infield in. Smith was sawed-off by a Jimmy Reyes fastball. Smith’s bat broke and flew towards Santiago Chirino at second. Chrinio tagged La Stella on the softly hit ball, but Chrinio couldn’t get the ball out of his glove in time to get a hustling Smith. Ahmed scored to end the game and give the Hillcats the victory 4-3.
The winner pitcher was Matt Chaffee (1-0). He went one perfect inning with a strike out. The losing pitcher was Jimmy Reyes (0-1). His line was 1.2 innings, he gave up one hit and one walk to go along with the winning run.
The series finale is set for 2:05pm tomorrow. Lynchburg City Stadium will open its gates at 1:00pm. J.R. Graham (3-0, 3.00) will take the hill for the ‘Cats. Righty Kyle Hendricks (0-3, 3.07) will be on the rubber for the Pelicans. If you can’t make it to the ballpark, you can listen live to all the action on 105.5 FM KD Country and online at lynchburg-hillcats.com starting with the Hillcats On-Deck Show coming on the air at 5:40pm with Erik Wilson and Mike Viso.