Simmons knocks in seven to lead Lynchburg to victory
Andrelton Simmons had a career night, driving in seven RBIs, and led the Hillcats to an 11-6 win over the Kinston Indians Monday night. Lynchburg has now won five of their last six games as they begin the final month of the season.
The Indians scored first in the top of the second. Tyler Cannon and Casey Frawley singled to lead off the inning. Justin Toole dropped a bunt down the third base line. Pitcher Chris Masters fielded it and fired it to third, where Barrett Kleinknecht was scrambling over to the base to cover. Kleinknecht misplayed the ball as it hit his glove and it rolled into shallow left field. Cannon came around to score on the play. Later in the inning, Toole scored on an RBI single by Tyler Holt to make it 2-0 Kinston.
Lynchburg tied it in the bottom of the third. L.V. Ware led off the inning with a walk. Todd Cunningham followed with a double and Ware advanced to third on the hit. Andrelton Simmons hit a roller to short that was mishandled by the shortstop Casey Frawley. Ware scored and Cunningham advanced to third. Two batters later, Joey Terdoslavich hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Cunningham, and the game was tied at two.
Tyler Holt picked up another RBI in the fourth inning. With runners on first and second and two outs, Holt singled and Toole came in to score to give the Indians a 3-2 lead.
The Hillcats finally took the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Christian Bethancourt dropped a bunt down the third baseline and beat it out for a single. Marcus Lemon popped the ball up into shallow right-center. There was some miscommunication between the Indians fielders, and it dropped in for a single. Keenan Wiley dropped down a bunt of his own. The third baseman Cannon charged in, but slipped as he planted to grab the ball. Wiley was able to sprint down to first and the bases were loaded. L.V. Ware struck out looking for the first out of the inning.
Cunningham then grounded the ball to second and a wild play ensued. The second baseman, Argenis Martinez, picked the ball up and tried to tag Wiley as he ran from first to second. Wiley sidestepped to avoid the tag. Martinez, thinking that Wiley had been called out for leaving the baseline, threw to first to complete what he thought was a double play. Cunningham was out at first, but the base umpire, Kiff Kinkead, said that Wiley never left the base path. After the throw to first, he got up and made his way to second, and Bethancourt scored from third. Despite the protests of the fielders and Kinston manager Aaron Holbert, Kinkead stood by his call. Wiley and Lemon scored as Simmons came to the plate and singled for his second and third RBIs of the night to give the Hillcats a 5-3 lead.
Despite the disappointing play in the bottom of the fourth, the Indians came out strong in the fifth. The first three batters all reached base against starter Chris Masters. After the third batter of the inning singled, Masters left the game and Andrew Wilson came in. Despite retiring the first two batters he faced, all three inherited runners ended up coming in to score, and Kinston retook the lead, 6-5.
The Hillcats retook the lead, for good this time, in the sixth. Wiley hit a one-out single. On a hit-and-run, Ware grounded out to second, and Wiley advanced to second base. Todd Cunningham walked, and Simmons came to the plate. He laced a pitch out to left-center that rolled all the way to the wall. Wiley and Cunningham scored easily and Simmons dug for third. He slid in safely, and the relay throw from shortstop Casey Frawley got past Cannon at third. Simmons scrambled up and sprinted home, and the Hillcats went up 8-6.
The Hillcats scored three more runs in the seventh. Kleinknecht led off the inning with a bunt single, and the throw from Cannon went over the first baseman’s head, allowing him to reach second. Bethancourt followed with a single to score Kleinknecht. Lemon sacrificed Bethancourt to second, and Wiley walked. Ware struck out, but Cunningham walked as well, loading the bases for Simmons. Simmons knocked a single to left, scoring two runners, and picking up his sixth and seventh RBIs of the night. It put the Hillcats up 11-6, which held up for the rest of the game.
The seven RBIs were a career high for Simmons, shattering his previous high of two. It was the most for a Hillcat since June 13, 2009, when Pedro Alvarez drove home seven against Kinston.
Wilson (2-3) earned the win for the Hillcats. He pitched three innings and didn’t give up any runs after letting the inherited runners score in the fifth. Trey Haley (1-2) took the loss for Kinston.
The Hillcats won to improve to 18-25 in the second half, while the Indians fell to 22-20.
The teams meet up again on Tuesday night. Righty Gary Moran (0-0) will take the mound for the Hillcats, and will face southpaw T.J. House (6-9). First pitch is at 7:05 pm, and the gates will open at 6.
The Hillcats On-Deck Show presented by Honda/Suzuki of Lynchburg will go on the air at 6:40 pm. Tune in to 105.5 KD Country or go to lynchburg-hillcats.com to listen live to all the action.