By William Franciscus
Friday’s game between the DC and the Southern Maryland Senators started with rain and ended with fireworks. After a late start, the Grays won a back-and-forth contest 13-12 against the Senators at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy on a walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth to keep DC’s playoff hopes alive.
The game was delayed more than hour due to rain and lightning, and the Grays offense came alive in the second inning (thanks in part to some Senator’s miscues). Derrick Wood (George Mason) walked scoring Aaron Thomas (Wofford) and then Connor Larson (Wofford) got hit by a pitch scoring another run. Joe Marini (Catholic) walked and then Justin Grech (Lafayette) singled in a run and the lead expanded to 4-0. Thomas game up for the second time in the inning and laced a bases clearing double that gave DC a 7-0 lead.
Southern Maryland started a comeback right away. Kenneth McKinley (Middle Tennessee St) hit a two-run homer in the top of the third that cut the lead to five. Ty Stecko (Mt St. Mary’s) singled cutting deeper into the lead, and the Grays walked in a run making it 7-4 heading to the bottom of the third.
Parker Goff (BYU) singled in Larson and the Grays add to their lead making 8-4, and again the Senators answered back. Sam Griffith (Oakland) had an RBI double making 8-5. Then Southern Maryland scored again in the fifth as Luke Gaffney (Purdue) scored and the Grays lead shrunk to just 2.
In the homer half of the fifth, Evan Bouldin (Delaware State) drove in Larson with a ground out, putting the Grays up by three again making it a 9-6 ballgame. In the sixth inning Gaffney brought in two runs, making it a one run game.
In the top of the seventh the Senators stormed to their first lead of the game of a triple by McKinley making a 10-9 Southern Maryland lead. The Senators had come all the way back from an early seven-run deficit.
Bouldin was able to single in Larson and DC tied to game up at 10. The Grays were then able to score two more runs as Thomas and Myles Sargent (Maine) walked and the DC stormed back and took a 12-10 lead.
Again the Senators countered. Reed Farrell (U Penn) closed the gap as he had an RBI single making it 12-11 heading to the ninth. With one out in the ninth inning Kyan Lodice (Kansas St) blasted a solo shot tying the game at twelve.
Just as it seemed that the momentum had shifted in the Senators favor, the Grays proved they had one last rally in them. Bouldin led off the bottom of the ninth with a big double. Then Grech reached on a sac bunt and Thomas was intentionally walked. This left the bases loaded for Sargent. On the second pitch of the at bat Sargent hit a single up the middle and Miles Newsome (Brown), who was running for Bouldin, came home and scored the winning run as the Grays won 13-12 in an absolute thriller.
Caleb Causey (Miss Valley State) pitched two innings in relief and was the winning pitcher for the Grays while Justin Naylor (Cal U-PA) picked up the loss for the Senators.
The win improved the Grays to 12-20, still in the mix for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Ripken League.
DC will be back in action Saturday against the league leading Alexandria Aces at 7:00pm at the Washington Nationals Youth Academy for their last home game of the season.