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Goldeyes Win Sixth Straight in Bizarre Finish

WINNIPEG, MB – This is the skinny: The Winnipeg Goldeyes beat the Kansas City T-Bones 12-11 in 14 innings in the longest game (by duration) ever played in the history of the American Association. With the victory, the Goldeyes won their sixth straight game and moved into a first-place tie with the St. Paul Saints in the North Division.

But it wasn’t so much what happened as how it happened.

In a game that took five hours and 25 minutes to play, the Goldeyes came back from 5-0 and 7-2 deficits, were ahead 9-7 heading to the top of the ninth and were behind 11-9 heading to the bottom of the 13th.

And then it got crazy.

In the bottom of the 13th, the T-Bones ran out of pitchers. So they had to call on centerfielder Kyle Petty. Petty, who had homered to straightaway centerfield in the second inning, gave up two runs in the bottom of the 13th as the Goldeyes were able to send it to the 14th.

In the 14th, the T-Bones had absolutely no pitchers left. So righthanded starter Matt Sergey stepped up. Sergey had pitched seven innings on Thursday so he wasn’t ready to pitch again – at least not righthanded. So he came into the game pitching lefthanded. It was heroic but ineffective. He couldn’t throw more than 72 miles per hour and he had trouble finding the plate.

Sergey opened the inning by walking Shawn Pleffner and David Bergin  Wes Darvill then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Pleffner to third and Bergin to second. At this point, the T-Bones made the right decision. They would walk Mason Katz to face No. 9 hitter Jordan Ebert and give themselves an out at every base. However, the American Association is not Major League Baseball. The pitcher still has to throw four pitches outside the strike zone. The first one was fine but the second pitch sailed out of the reach of catcher Leo Rojas, went all the way to the screen and Pleffner walked home from third with the winning run.

“It was a long one,” Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney told the CJNU post-game show. “We outlasted them today. Both teams were all out of pitching. Mitch (Lambson) bit the bullet there and stuck it out. I though the guys did a great job battling back. We were in a big hole there early. You have to be able to win more than one way.

“I’ve never seen someone pitch with their opposite hand. Sergey is a great pitcher and had a great game in Fargo (on Thursday). He volunteered himself, and we were able to outlast them. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked.”

It has been a truly remarkable week for the Goldeyes. With Saturday’s win, in front of what was left of a crowd of 4,413, the Fish have now outscored their opponents 65-16 in the past five games – that’s an average of 13 runs per game. The Goldeyes have won six straight, eight of their last nine, nine of their last 10 and 12 of their last 15.

The Fish are now 31-23 on the season and more importantly, they are now tied for first in the American Association’s North Division. St. Paul lost 17-15 in Fargo last night.

Goldeyes starter Zack Nuding allowed six runs on six hits in just 3.2 innings, but the Goldeyes bullpen was solid again. Reliever Mitchell Lambson (4-2, 3.06) earned the win, pitching four innings and allowing two earned runs on five hits while throwing 70 total pitches. The four innings matched a career-high that Lambson twice accomplished in 2012. Sergey (2-2, 3.70 EWRA) took the loss. In total, nine T-Bones pitchers struck out 12 Goldeyes and walked 14.

Perhaps lost in the incredible finish was the game Goldeyes leadoff man Andrew Sohn had. He was six-for-eight with two runs scored and seven runs batted in. The six hits and seven RBI were both career highs. He also hit his seventh home run of the season.

“It was long and competitive,” Sohn told the CJNU post-game show. “We really stuck it out, and it was good to get the win. I’ve never had five hits in a game, let alone six. It was fun. Just put the bat on the ball. It felt great that we got the win.”

For the first time in nine games, the Goldeyes were outhit – 18-16. Sohn, of course, led the way while David Rohm, Josh Romanski (.329) and David Bergin (.318) all had two hits. Mason Katz went one-for-three with three runs scored and two driven in. Romanski had the other two RBI. Wes Darvill now leads the Goldeyes in hitting with a .361 average while Shawn Pleffner is batting .357. They are third and fourth respectively in the American Association.

The Goldeyes and T-Bones play the final game of this three-game series on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. at Shaw Park. Mikey O’Brien (6-2, 4.73 ERA) will take the ball for Winnipeg while right-hander Chris Perry (1-2, 5.54 ERA) will toe the rubber for Kansas City.

If you don’t have a ticket, all the action can be heard locally on 93.7 FM CJNU. Wear earplugs if you listen. There will be fireworks.

Scott Taylor, MyToba Sports

Photos by Dan LeMoal

Editor of the popular Game On Hockey Magazine and The Point After Football Magazine, editor of Canadian Meat Business Magazine, sports editor of Grassroots News, TV play-by-play voice of the Winnipeg Goldeyes and author of the bestselling book: The Winnipeg Jets: A Celebration of Professional Hockey in Winnipeg. He likes virgin pina coladas, long walks on the beach, puppies and thoroughbred race horses that run according to form.
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