All Heaven Breaks Loose as St. Paul Saints End Home Losing Streak: Saints Summary
It had been a long time since the St. Paul Saints had won at home. August 7 was the last time that the team from St. Paul had done so, when they beat the visiting Sioux City Explorers in the first game of a four-game series. Since then they had fallen seven straight times, seemingly finding different ways to lose each night, but not this night. Finally the streak is over.
The night started out great for the St. Paul Saints. The team got to Winnipeg Goldeyes starter Ryan Bollinger early, scoring a run in the first and four in the second. In the first, Mitch Elliot hit a ball to the second baseman to lead off the inning, but Brock Bond threw wildly to first, allowing Elliot to reach second. After Elliot reached third on a sacrifice, Willie Cabrera hit a ground ball to Bond that allowed the Saints runner to score.
In the second Jake Taylor led off with a single and advanced to third after a wild pitch and a ground ball. Tyler Peterson then singled into left-center field to score Taylor and make it 2-0. Next up was Joey Becker, who hit a slow roller down the third base line. Jake Blackwood had no play on Becker, so the only thing he could do is see if the ball would roll foul. It didn’t. Becker was safe, and when Vinny DiFazio followed with a sharp single to left field, the bases were loaded with one out. Elliot was back at the plate and hit a hard ground out to second that scored Peterson and moved the other runners up 90 feet. Devin Thaut followed with a single to center that scored Becker and DiFazio, and just like that Saints had the early 5-0 lead.
That lead looked like it was solid as St. Paul starter Justin Klipp was in complete control. He breezed through the first four innings, keeping the potent Goldeyes lineup off of the scoreboard, but in the fifth it all came crashing down around Klipp, and it was the No. 1 Saints nemesis that did him in – the two-out rally.
The first four batters of the inning reached base, two with walks from Klipp. Blackwood’s single to left scored two runs, and cut the lead to 5-2. After Tyler Kuhn struck out, Casey Haerther walked and then Reggie Abercrombie hit into a fielder’s choice that scored Bond, and put runners at first and second with two outs. Donnie Webb walked to reload the bases and brought Josh Mazzola to the plate. Mazzola worked Klipp for a full count, and then hit a long fly ball that just stayed inside the left field foul pole for a grand slam, and in the blink of an eye the Winnipeg Goldeyes had the 7-5 lead.
It looked like it was going to be another Saints collapse. Another night where the team found a way to lose at home, but not this night. Instead, all heaven was about to break loose for the Saints, and it was going to happen quickly.
Angelo Songco singled to lead off the bottom of the fifth. Taylor then took the first pitch from Bollinger and deposited it over the left field fence to tie the game.
In the sixth the Saints got right back on the board, and it was their own two-out rally that led to the outburst. With two outs Devin Thaut beat out an infield hit, and advanced to second when Bond’s throw to first was wild. Cabrera took a called first strike, and then hit a home run to deep left field to give St. Paul the 9-7 lead.
In the seventh the Saints would blow the game open. Keith Brachold led off with a single, and moved to second one out later on a bloop single by Joey Becker. Vinny DiFazio then laced a double to the wall in left field to score Brachold and send Becker to third. With the infield in, Elliot grounded a single right back up the middle, scoring both runners, and it was 12-7.
In the eighth two more runs would cross the plate. With one out Taylor doubled off the wall in right-center field and one out later Peterson singled to put St. Paul up 13-7. Becker followed with a single and DiFazio walked to load the bases. Elliot then drew a walk sending Peterson across the plate for a 14-7 lead.
The outburst earned the St. Paul Saints their first home victory in three weeks, and brought a slice of heaven to the crowd of nearly 6000. With just one more game at Midway Stadium before the team moves into their new home stadium, it was a huge relief for the team to finally get back into the win column at home. Tonight’s final home game will be a match-up of aces as Anthony Claggett goes to the hill for St. Paul against 11-game winner Nick Hernandez.
By Robert Pannier
Senior Baseball Editor
Member of the IBWAA