Carolina League – Myrtle Beach Wins Marathon Battle in 16
After blowing a 6-1 eighth inning lead, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans had to be thinking they may have let this one slip away against the Potomac Nationals. Seven innings later the Pelicans managed to pull out a huge victory in 16 to stay tied with Carolina for first place in the Southern Division.
Myrtle Beach entered the eighth clinging to a 2-1 lead. The Pelicans took the lead in the third on back to back doubles by Christopher Bostick and Preston Beck. In the bottom of the fourth Randolph Oduber doubled to left field, and one later would score on a single by John Wooten to tie the game at 1. The Pelicans wasted no time jumping back on top in the top of the fifth in a fairly crazy inning on the base paths.
David Lyon was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Luis Mendez attempted to bunt Lyon to second, but Pitcher Pedro Encarnacion jumped off the mound quickly and fired to short to catch the lead runner. With Mendez running with the pitch, Jorge Alfaro singled deep into the hole at short. The ball got away from the shortstop Stephen Perez, and Mendez advanced to third. Alfaro attempted to go to second, but was thrown out for the second out. Bostick then doubled to drive home Mendez and the Nationals were trailing 2-1.
The score remained this way until the top of the eighth. With one out, Lewis Brinson, Edwin Garcia and Lyon had three consecutive singles to make the score 3-1. Mendez was then hit by a pitch and Alfaro grounded into a force at the plate. With two outs and Bryan Harper now pitching, Bostick doubled to right field scoring three more, and the Pelicans had a 6-1 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth something seemed to click for the Nationals. Justin Sprenger relieved Ryan Bores and immediately got into trouble. After striking out the first batter he gave up back-to-back singles to Tony Renda and Shawn Pieffner. Oduber then tripled to right field cutting the lead to three. Perez then grounded to first baseman Preston Beck, who recorded the out at first, but Oduber scored on the play.
In the bottom of the ninth with the Pelicans clinging to a 6-4 lead, Jose Leclerc came in to close out the game. He issued a one out walk to Craig Manuel, who was pinch-run for by Pedro Severino. After pinch-hitter Brandon Miller struck out, Isaac Bailou hit his first home run of the year to tie the score. Myrtle Beach looked stunned.
The score remained tied for the next six innings, although the Pelicans had several chances to take the lead. In the 11th they had the lead-off batter at third with no outs, and after Bollinger was hit by a pitch they had first and third with no one out. Yet the next three batters all struck out swinging and score remained tied.
Myrtle Beach would pull it out in the 16th. Beck would walk to lead off the inning and would advance to third on a double by Bollinger. Nick Williams was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Lewis Brinson followed with a deep home run to center field, clearing the bases and giving the Pelicans the 10-6 lead. It was Brinson’s second home run of the season.
Eleven pitchers were used in the game, with Josh McElwee (1-0) getting the win and Khayyan Norfolk (0-1) taking the loss. Alfaro, Bostick and Brinson all had four hits for the Pelicans and Oduber had four for the Nationals.
With the victory, the Pelicans swept the three-game series with the Nationals and remained tied with the Carolina Mudcats atop the Southern Division. Lynchburg moved into a tie with Potomac at the top of the Northern Division and can take the lead with a win tonight.
By Robert Pannier
Senior Baseball Editor
Member of the IBWAA