Now that the regular seasons have ended (okay, I’ll be honest, I’m ignoring Staten Island’s final game tonight – they won 5-2 in a rain shortened game for those interested), it’s time to follow the minor league playoffs! Unfortunately for the Yankees farm system, only the Thunder have earned a spot in the postseason. They kicked off the season with an exciting comeback and walk-off win on Wednesday evening, led by Tyler Austin and Ben Gamel. This is a team that clearly has some great fight in them, if you have a chance to watch them during the postseason – take it! Anyway, here is your extended Trenton recap, enjoy!
The Binghamton Mets drew first blood with a lead off double by Daniel Muno, who moved to third on a single by Josh Rodriguez. A double play ball by Rhyne Hughes allowed Muno to score and the Thunder trailed before they got a chance to touch their bats. They took the lead quickly, however, as Ramon Flores and Jose Pirela hit back-to-back singles and were doubled in by Tyler Austin for the 2-1 advantage. Travis Taijeron started the fourth with a single. Two outs later he scored on a single by Wilfredo Tovar. A double by Muno scored Tovar and the Mets took the 3-2 lead. Austin drove a double to right, scoring on a single by Ben Gamel and tying the game yet again.
The Mets had the chance to take the game in the eighth, loading the bases with no outs. Mason Williams, who struggled at the plate all night, made a fantastic sliding catch on a shallow fly ball by Blake Forsythe. Danny Burawa struck out Tovar and Muno gave the ball a ride towards the wall in centerfield. Luckily for Trenton, Williams made another great play, catching what could have been a bases clearing double.
It looked like the Thunder had a chance for the walk-off win in the ninth, as Kyle Roller slapped a ball the opposite direction for a lead off single and was replaced by Casey Stevenson on the bases. Ben Gamel showed bunt twice, instead taking the strikes, fouling off a few balls and striking out. A shallow fly ball to center by Reegie Corona was caught for the second out and Ali Castillo followed by driving a ball deeper to center, but Darrell Ceciliani made the catch and the game headed into extras.
Taijeron drew a walk to start the tenth. Ceciliani laid down a bunt that was hit towards the first base side of the mound. Pat Venditte tried to field the ball, but the switch pitcher’s glove was on his right hand and he slid awkwardly in an attempt to stop it, allowing the runner to reach and putting two on with no outs. Gary Sanchez fielded a sac bunt to get the first out of the inning, but it moved the runners into scoring position. Tovar followed with a sac fly to left, plating a run and giving the Mets a 4-3 advantage. Josh Rodriguez then drove a RBI single up the middle, putting the Mets ahead 5-3.
The Mets’ closer, Jeff Walters took the mound in the bottom of the tenth and started the inning by striking out Williams. Flores quickly found himself with two strikes. He hit a ball down the line that was just foul before getting jammed and grounding out to first. With two outs, Jose Pirela slapped a stand up double to the gap in right center, bringing Sanchez to the plate. Sanchez battled and managed to knock a single into right, scoring Pirela and bringing Trenton within one. Sanchez was replaced by Francisco Arcia on the bases with Austin at bat. The young outfielder also got two quick strikes, but managed to tap the ball up the middle for an infield single, keeping the rally alive. Stevenson hit a clutch single to left, scoring Pirela and tying the game. Gamel wasted little time in giving the Thunder the victory, driving a single to right and earning the walk-off win for Trenton who took a 1-0 lead in the series.
Ben Gamel: He went 2-5 with two RBIs. He struck out three times, but his clutch hit in the tenth earned him player of the game honors.
Tyler Austin: Austin went 3-5 with two runs scored, two doubles and two RBIs.
Jose Pirela: He went 3-5 as well, picking up a pair of runs scored and a double.
Francisco Rondon: Rondon threw two innings, allowing just one hit and striking out five.
Mason Williams: The outfielder made some great plays in the field, but went 0-5 at the plate and struck out twice.
Bryan Mitchell: He lasted just five innings and gave up three runs (two earned) on seven hits and four walks. He struck out four.
Reegie Corona and Ali Castillo: Both went 0-4.