Game Stories - AA

Bats hold off Cats, win AA Championship (June 14)

On a picture perfect evening at Nutile Field, the ComforCare Bats and the Main Street Citgo Mud Cats met for the third time in the 2017 AA season. The #1 and #2 seeds in the tournament had played two tight games previously, both Bats wins by the scores of 2-1 (walk off) and 5-2.

After a scoreless first, Charlie Angel led off the second for the Bats with a sharp single to right field off Cats ace Ronan O'Connell but Angel was gunned down trying to stretch for a double, the first of many fine defensive plays by the Cats on the night. They threw out three Bats runners at second base in the game. A double to left center by Jack Johnson and a walk by Matthew McCarthy followed Angel's at-bat. Nolan Gannon then knocked in the first run of the game with a first pitch single to left field to give the Bats a 1-0 lead.

Bats ace Cole Blackburn remained tough on the hill despite having runners in scoring position in each of the first four innings. Freddy Meyer and Ted Budreski reached base in the first inning for the Cats before Blackburn escaped. In the second, Kai Napadow, Matthew Mikula and Aiden Brunelle all reached safely to load the bases but the Cats could not push one across. In the 4th, Eva Fajkowski led off with a triple down the right field line for the Cats but she was stranded at third as Blackburn struck out the next three batters to close out the frame. Blackburn struck out 11 batters in his four innings of work.

In the last the 4th, the Bats demonstrated the offensive attack that led to an average of more than ten runs per game this season. After an Adam Fiorentino lead off single down the left field line, Julian Ragosa lined a shot to right center and Fiorentino came all the way around to score the game's second run. Ragosa was thrown out at second on a fine defensive play from the Cats. Dawson English then smashed a ground ball to shortstop but O'Connell made a tremendous defensive play for the inning's second out. Charlie Angel and Jack Johnson then reached base on a hits batsman and a walk before Matthew McCarthy delivered the game's biggest blow with a fly ball double just inside the left field line that scored both Bats baserunners.

With the score 4-0 in the fifth the Cats, under head coach Mike Toomey, began their comeback. Mikula and Ben D'Antonio led off the inning with a double and triple, respectively, on fly balls down the left and right field lines. Brunelle then drove in the Cats second run with a grounder back to the mound.

In the last of the fifth, Brogan Salvietti earned a lead off walk and Noah Pare singled for the Bats but Wake Toomey was able to set down the side keeping the score 4-2 heading to the 6th. The Bats offensive night included eight hits.

In the 6th, O'Connell battled Fiorentino for a walk to lead off the Cats inning and scored on a long double to center by Budreski. After a strikeout and a grounder back to the mound, the Cats were down to their final out with the tying run on third base. Napadow kept the game alive for the Cats with a walk, putting the go-ahead run on first base. Noah Seitz then came to the plate and kept fans on the edge of their seats for what seemed like a few minutes with 3 fouled off pitches after two strikes had been recorded. Seitz had a similar lengthy at-bat in the 6th inning of the last game between the Bats and Cats. Fiorentino, however, was able to get the strikeout to retire the side and the Bats rushed the field with a hard fought 4-3 victory.

Joshua Sardinha, Bradford Adams and Carson Palmer were also immense contributors to the Bats 17 win, no loss season under head coach Dave Fiorentino and assistants Dave English, Dave Pare, Derek Johnson, Kevin Sardinha, Mark Ragosa and Tom Blackburn.

Links to AA game stories:   (All Leagues)

June 14 Bats hold off Cats, win AA Championship
June 3 MudCats Bullpen Raptors
May 31 MudCats Topple Express
May 22 MudCats Beat Thunder in the Rain
May 19 Gnats stun Cats
May 18 Cats top Gnats
May 16 Mud Cats squeak by Iron Pigs
May 10 Pitcher's Duel at Mullen A
May 8 MudCats Top Express
May 4 Bats top Mud Cats in walk-off thriller
April 29 Epic Thunder comeback

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