The Washington Wild Things needed both games of Wednesday’s doubleheader at CONSOL Energy Park against River City, but was only able to take one as they were unable to gain ground on the final Wild Card spot.
The Wild Things (26-35) pulled to within seven games of River City — who holds the final Frontier League Wild Card spot — after a walk-off fielders choice gave them the 2-1 victory.
With the game tied going to the bottom of the seventh, Washington used some bad luck from River City to push across the winning run.
Austin Wobrock led the inning off with a double and Maxx Garrett followed with a walk. Daniel Poma then followed with a sacrifice bunt down the third base line. Two River City infielders then collided while reaching for the ball allowing all runners to advance safely.
Matt Ford finished off the eventful inning with a chopper back to the pitchers mound. Reliever Derek Cape’s throw was late home allowing Washington to pull a game closer in the Wild Card race.
Wild Things starter Luke Wilkins went six strong innings allowing one run while allowing six hits, walking five and striking out five.
“I pitched just well enough to win tonight, I’d say,” said Wilkins. “The umpire had a tight zone. I had five k’s and five walks and if there are a couple of different calls there, I have seven k’s and two walks. It’s definately tough being a guy that’s throwing 95 mph out there and the umpire is squeezing you, but I just tried to make some quality pitches and that’s all you can do there.”
Lake Erie (33-28) struck first in the first inning on a Taylor Ard solo home run to left field, but were unable to cross the plate again in the game.
The Rascals did have a chance to take the lead with two out in the sixth when Jasckson Slaid tried scoring on a Zach Kometani single to right, but Scott Kalamar fired a perfect throw home to get the runner and end the inning.
“I knew it was going to be a good play from the start,” said Wild Things manager Bob Bozzuto. “It was a beautiful throw and a nice tag on a close play.”
(WAS) Wilkins (ND): 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 5 K’s, 1 HR. 105 Pitches (55 Strikes).
(RC) Koons (ND): 5 1/3 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K’s. 69 Pitches (48 Strikes).
River City (34-28) controlled game two from the first pitch scoring four times in the first en route to a 6-1 victory to extend their Wild Card lead over the Wild Things back up to eight games.
Rascals starter Lucas Laster (2-2) set a career high for strikeouts setting down 12 Wild Things in a complete-game effort.
Washington starter Jeremy Holcombe (1-1) didn’t have the same success as he couldn’t find his control early allowing four runs on three hits in the first inning and was removed after three innings allowing five runs on five hits while striking out one.
“Jeremy was a little nervous today with his first start ever,” said Bozzuto. “It is what it is and if we make some extraordinarily plays behind him, it’s a different ballgame.”
The Wild Things (26-36) broke onto the scoreboard in the seventh on an Andrew Heck RBI single.
(WAS) Holcombe (L, 1-1): 3 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR. 62 Pitches (37 Strikes).
(RC) Laster (W, 2-2): CG, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 12 K’s. 107 Pitches (66 Strikes).
Washington will look to take the three-game series in tomorrow’s rubber match. First pitch is set for 7:05.
(Photo Credit: Washington Wild Things)