South Atlantic League Capsule – July 28, 2014 – Hickory Crawdads 3, Delmarva Shorebirds 2
Despite falling behind 2-0 in the second inning, the Hickory Crawdads rallied late to beat the Delmarva Shorebirds 3-2. The win moved Hickory just 1.5 games behind the Greensboro Grasshoppers in the Northern Division.
Delmarva jumped out on top when Creede Simpson and Chance Sisco singled to lead off the inning. Conor Bierfeldt then doubled scoring Simpson. Hickory starter Ricardo Rodriguez was really laboring, and Delmarva was looking to knock him out early. With Austin Wynns at the plate, Rodriguez would throw a wild pitch scoring Sisco, and the Crawdads would be in the early hole. However after walking Wynns, Rodriguez got his command back. He would get Anthony Caronia to line to the third baseman, and then induce a double play out of Gregory Lorenzo to end the inning.
Delmarva starter Steven Brault was in control through the first five innings. He yielded just three hits and a walk while striking out eight. He clearly was in command, but he seemed to tire in the sixth. After striking out Evan van Hoosier to begin the inning, Nomar Mazara singled into the gap in right field, and tried to stretch it into a double, but right fielder Conor Bierfeldt made a great throw to the shortstop, Jeff Kemp, to gun down Marzana. It looked like Brault was going to breeze through the sixth at this point, but then the wheels seemed to come off. He walked Zane Cone before giving up a double to Kellin Deglan which scored Cone. After the three consecutive batters reached, Brault’s night was over. Delmarva left the sixth leading 2-1.
Cole Wiper came on in the seventh and pitched a perfect 1-2-3 inning. In the bottom half Hickory would strike again. Travis Demeritte would hit his 14th double of the season to lead off the inning. After Ronald Guzman struck out, Luis Marte would single to left field scoring Demeritte and tying the score. The last two batters would get out, but the score was tied, and the Crawdads could feel the momentum shifting their way.
In the top of the eighth it looked as though the Shorebirds might take the lead again. After Gregory Lorenzo and Josh Hart were retired, Jeff Kemp singled to center, and Drew Dosch singled to left field putting runners on first and second with two outs. Wiper was struggling but his stuff still looked solid and he was able to retire Simpson to end the inning.
In the bottom of the eighth the momentum continued for the Crawdads. Mazara hit his 19th home run of the season over the right field fence, and Hickory was leading for the first time in the game. Dylan Rheault would retire the final three batters of the inning, but the damage was done, and now it was time to see if Hickory could hold the lead.
Jose Valdespina came out to close out the ninth. He would pitch a perfect final inning for his third save of the season. Wiper would get the win to move to 7-8, while Rheault would fall to 8-3 after the loss. The win moved Hickory just two back of the first-place Grasshoppers while Delmarva remains seven out.
By Robert Pannier
Senior Baseball Editor