Natties Rally Late to Stun Neosho 4-3
On Friday night in Hartford, Johnny Keane doubled with one out in the 5th inning to break up an 8 strikeout, perfect game performance by the Rockets starting pitcher and spark the to-that-point challenged offense. Reports that the lineup was broken were debunked, despite a lineup card covered with Pulera dirt on the dugout floor.
Down 3-1 after some self-inflicted wounds, the squad headed to the bottom of the sixth with hopes of building on their breakthru fifth. With one out, Jonah Meidl singled to hole at short and promptly stole second. He advanced to third on a wild pitch. With two down, Brian Huntzinger drew a walk leading to some drama from Evan Spry. Spry drove a ball to deep left center that was narrowly missed by the left fielder. When the dust settled, two runs had been plated and Spry was at third with a two out triple. The Tentoni-quiet Spry was later overhead mumbling, "not having D3 Johnny Keane vulture my RBI's again."
With Keane up next and an opportunity to put the Nats ahead, Spry gutted him by scoring from third on a passed ball, putting the Nats up 4-3. In true Nattie fashion, though, Keane followed with a double down the left field line to keep the inning alive. Also in true Nattie fashion, he was left stranded to end the inning.
Headed back out in the top of the seventh, starter Nick McLees reminded his skipper that players make the lineup (now fixed) and told him he wasn't coming out. McLees made good on his word, retiring the Rockets on 5 pitches (with some defensive magic from teammate, not friend, Dan Scallon who had gutted McLees earlier in the game on a "double" to left that went on to score.)
The Nats await their tournament destiny today. Neosho plays twice and the Nats need them to win both games and put some runs on the board to create a three way tie in Pool D. That scenario would leave Kewaskum, Neosho, and the Natties with 2-1 records and invoke tie breaker C - total runs allowed. The Nats allowed only 4 runs in their three tournament games. Kewaskum, thus far, has allowed 0 runs in two games.
The Nats won't be sitting on their hands and watching that action, however. They are back on the road today for a 3pm Wisconsin State League DH vs the DePere Dodgers in DePere, Wi. Early Vegas odds are that they'll be banished to the tunnels for BP, but the skipper has some insider information that could change that.
Those with feelings, sensitivies or a weak heart should probably sit near the Dodgers' dugout.