Laredo Lemurs Rally Late for 6-5 Walk-Off Victory
The Laredo Lemurs found themselves trailing 4-0 after one inning Friday night, and for over half of the game it looked like the Laredo crowd was going go home disappointed again. That was not meant to be as the Lemurs rallied to tie the game late, then had to come from behind again to earn the walk-off win over the Amarillo Thunderheads.
Kevin Brandt started that game for the Lemurs and the lefty found himself in trouble nearly from the opening pitch thrown. Logan Vick led off the game with a single and reached second on an error. One batter later Drew Heid walked. Logan came home on an error and Geraldo Valentin followed with a single that scored Heid. That made it 2-0, and the Thunderheads were not done. Jason Martin singled and Juan Martinez walked which brought up Corey Bass. He drilled a 2-2 pitch into right field to score Valentin and Martin and put Amarillo up 4-0.
Brandt had given up all four runs, but he was also the unfortunate recipient of two errors made by his team that made all four runs scored against him unearned. After the first the lefty settled in, retiring nine of the next 10 batters he faced and keeping the game at 4-0.
Staked to a 4-0 lead Clayton Tanner kept the Lemurs bats at bay through the first five innings, allowing just one run. In the third the Lemurs got a one out double from Dvontrey Richardson, who scored on a base hit by Matt Padgett two batters later. In the sixth Laredo started their late game rally against the left-hander as Denis Phipps homered to make it 4-2. It was Phipps first home run of the year.
In the seventh the home team came up with one more. A.J. Kirby-Jones doubled and moved to third on a sacrifice. That would be it for Tanner. Luke Bailey relieved and gave up a walk to Kevin Taylor before Richardson singled to pull the Lemurs within one.
Laredo relentlessly chipped away at the lead. In the eighth they would finally tie the score when Byron Wiley led off the inning with a walk and moved to second when Tony Delmonico was hit by a pitch. Three batters later Taylor delivered a clutch two out hit that scored Wiley and tied the game.
The excitement on the bench was incredible, but it almost came for naught as Amarillo retook the lead in the top of the ninth against Rett Varner. Taylor Smart began the inning with a single, and scored when Logan Vick followed with a double to the center field wall.
That brought Randy Hamrick in to close out the game for Amarillo, but these Lemurs were having none of that. Abel Nieves singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. Padgett followed with a single that put runners at the corners with no one out. Phipps tied the score with a single that plated Nieves. Wiley was then walked to load the bases, and after a shallow fly ball, it was Kirby-Jones’ chance to be the hero. He fouled off two pitches before lining a single into center field to score Padgett and win the game for the Lemurs. The victory was a real testament to the club’s ability to battle back, even after falling behind by so much early on.
Varner (1-0) got the win, despite giving up the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth. Hamrick (0-1) took the loss.
As a team the Laredo Lemurs rapped out 13-hits. Kirby-Jones carried the huge stick on this day, going 4-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
Boxscore Provided by the American Association
By Robert Pannier