MEDFORD ROGUES (12) at CHICO HEAT (13)
There were no outs and Rogue runners occupying all bases in the top of the first at Nettleton Stadium Friday night. Sound familiar? It should, as this was the same opening scene that occurred just one night before in which a 4-run first inning for Medford would eventually prove fatal to the Heat.
However, the Heat followed a much different script on Aloha Friday as their offense combined for 17 hits to score 13 runs as they swiped game two from Medford in extra innings, 13-12.
Jack Ralston took the mound for the Heat looking to earn his first win since July 2—a game in which he and fellow Bruin Gavin Johns asserted a dominant performance against the Marysville Gold Sox.
Unlike the aforementioned showing, Ralston found himself in a hole early Friday as he gave up two runs to the Rogues in the top of the first. The UCLA hurler received a much needed pick-me-up from designated hitter Gavin Johns via a two-out single to cut Medford’s lead in half, 2-1.
In the bottom of the second, Joe Bath made his presence known in his first appearance of the series, as he hit into a 4-3 groundout that tied the ballgame at two-a-piece.
While both offenses were silent in the third, the Heat decided to spice things up with a brilliant offensive display in the bottom of the fourth. Chico combined three hits to score three runs and take a 5-2 lead heading into the top of the fifth.
Following a quiet fifth inning, the slug-fest was on as Medford put up one run in both the top of the sixth and seventh innings respectively. Meanwhile, Chico compiled a total of five runs in the bottom of the sixth and seventh innings to take a commanding 10-4 lead. It’s worth noting that two of those runs came on a shot over the right-centerfield wall off the bat of Gavin Johns. The round-tripper marked the slugger’s second two-run blast in consecutive nights.
If onlookers didn’t know better, they might have guessed the matchup was a practice for the GWL’s All-Star Home Run Derby on July 24, as the riveting offensive demonstration by both squads became even more intense in the top of the eighth. Medford met Johns’ homer stride-for-stride on a two-run shot from their own Jake Gozzo. The Rogues would tack on another before sending the game into the ninth inning with the Heat leading, 10-7.
With the Heat and Samson Abernathy looking to turn out the lights on the Rogues in the top of the ninth, Medford refused to be put to bed. Back-to-back walks from Heat closer Samson Abernathy put two Rogues on with no outs. After Abernathy dealt a crushing strike to retire Medford’s Gozzo on a full count, a blooper by Braden Stutzman dropped in front of Heat right fielder Carson McCusker to place the tying run aboard with only one out for Abernathy.
Medford scored two runs in the top of the ninth to pull within one of the Heat and only one out showing on the scoreboard. Heat right fielder, Carson McCusker made a diving catch for the second out of the inning, although it came at a high cost as the Rogues scored the tying run on the play. With two outs, things went from bad to worse for Abernathy, as Medford’s Alex Isoa sent a shot over the centerfield wall on a 3-1 pitch. After eventually surrendering to Abernathy on a strikeout, Medford totaled five runs in the inning to take a 12-10 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
Here, Aloha Friday transformed into more of a freaky Friday as the Heat, who had squandered a six-run lead, struck back on a two-run shot off the bat of Caleb Van Blake for his first bomb of the season. However, the Heat were unable to finish the game in the bottom of the ninth, leading the remaining fans at Nettleton Stadium to gear up for free baseball.
The top of the tenth began with a conversation between the two managers and plate umpire, Jim Richins due to a city ordinance that would require the game to be suspended until Saturday if it failed to conclude in the tenth. With urgency at an all-time high for the Heat, skipper Fred Ludwig tapped Tanner Clark to take the mound.
Despite gifting Medford a lead-off walk, Clark was able to hold the threatening Rogues scoreless and position his offense to take back the game that appeared to have gotten away.
Following a lead-off strikeout, the Heat’s Cole Lemmel delivered his third double of the night, and the sixteenth hit for Chico, on a rocket down the left field line with one out. Lemmel then advanced to third base on a wild pitch from Medford’s seventh pitcher of the night, Will Floyd. With Lemmel on third, Brandon De La Guardia scorched his only hit of the night off the glove of Medford’s Braden Stutzman to give Chico the sensational walk-off win.
The three-hour and fifty-five minute game marked Chico’s sixth win over Medford out of the eight contests between them. The two squads combined for a total of 25 runs and 29 hits in the thriller, as Chico (23-18) now sit 5.5 games back of the first-place Rogues (28-12) heading into their final 20 games of the season.
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PORTLAND PICKLES (10) at YUBA CITY BEARS (7)
The Portland Pickles gutted out a big victory on Friday night, beating the Yuba City Bears 10-7 in a back-and-forth game. The Pickles scored six runs in a crucial sixth inning, sending 11 men to the plate in the frame. The Pickles increased their lead over the Marysville Gold Sox to 3.5 games, following their win and the loss by the Gold Sox to the Lincoln Potters.
Bobby Kinne had two hits and four RBIs on the night for Portland, including a solo home run in the sixth inning. Kinne alone drove in two of the team's six runs in the frame. Matt Hardy rebounded from crashing into the wall on an inside-the-park home run from Shaq Robinson in the fourth inning to record two hits, including a two-run dinger in the sixth inning. Zander Clarke had three hits, including two doubles on the night for the Pickles. Alex Henwood had an RBI single in the fourth inning.
Pickles starter Max Jones (3-2) earned the victory, allowing five runs, two of which were earned, in six innings, and struck out five Bears batters. Alex Torres did not allow a hit in 1.1 innings out of the Pickles bullpen.
Kaelan Crisosto had a two-run double for the Bears in the fifth inning, and finished with two hits. Robinson also had a double, in addition to his home run. Josh Winkler and TJ Dove each had two hits for Yuba City, with Dove also driving in a run on a sacrifice fly.
Bears starter Kevin Baronowski had a no-decision in five innings, allowing three runs, two earned, and striking out three. Reliever Aaron Ruedi (1-2) took the loss, allowing six runs and only recording one out.
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MARYSVILLE GOLD SOX (11) at LINCOLN POTTERS (12)
The Potters hang on to beat the Gold Sox 12-11 and improve to 27-13 on the season. Zach Hall ended the game with an outfield assist from right field to nab the would-be tying run at the plate.
Joey Meji was 3-4 with three RBI while Dalton Maxwell and Tom Fuller each had multiple hits in the game for the Gold Sox.
All nine of the Potters starters had at least one hit. Designated Hitter Isaiah Garcia was 4-5 while Austen Swift and Braden De Benedictis each added three hits.
Matt Steindor (1-2) came out of the bullpen to go a strong six innings allowing only two earned runs
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