Friday morning pregame stats

Boston survives Altoona rally

Book rule double strands tying run at third

Boston 9 - 8 Altoona 

    1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Boston   0 1 2   0 4 0   0 0 2   9 8 3
Altoona   2 0 0   0 0 0   0 3 3   8 14 1

Usually teams are excited when they've hit the ball over the wall, but Altoona players and fans were hoping that Eric Grace's long fly ball to centerfield would stay inside Point Stadium. Trailing by two runs in the bottom of the ninth, Grace hammered a ball to the deepest part of Point Stadium in centerfield. It hit the rubber turf and bounces over the outfield fence, resulting in a book rule double. Josh Serafin scored from second on the play, and John Servello would have scored from first, but was sent back to third base because the ball bounced over the wall. As a result, Boston maintained their 9-8 lead, and pitcher Jovan Henriquez got Ethan Lewis to pop out to end the game.

Boston is the first franchise to start 4-0 in its inaugural tournament. Even during the first AAABA tournament in 1945, no team started 4-0. The Massachusetts club will finished no lower than third this year.

Altoona's Corey Storm Boston's Adam Woodhead fielding
and Altoona's Darian Herncane
Boston's Nick Powers

Boston overcomes early deficit

Wise Trailer Sales opened the scoring in the bottom of the first. Jake Stern hit an RBI double to score Ethan Lewis from second. Stern then scored on a base-loaded fielder's choice.

Boston cut the lead in half in the second. Starting pitcher Nick Powers led off the inning with a double down the first base line. Adam Woodhead bunted him to third and Lionel Danielson's sacrifice fly brought him home. Altoona also started their second with a double off the bat of John Servello and also moved him to third on Darian Herncane's bunt. Dylan Kerstetter flew out to centerfield just like Boston had, but a strong throw from centerfielder Danielson held Servello at third, where he was stranded.

In the third, the Astros took the lead with a two-out rally. Sean Webster singled past the short stop and stole second. Frankely Gonzalez caught the second basemen leaning the wrong way and singled into right field, scoring Webster. Gonzalez advanced to second on the thrown home. He then scored himself when Miguel Lorenzo doubled down the third base line. Boston led 3-2.

Astros rally in the fifth 

After their first inning, Altoona struggled against Powers. They had only 3 hits over the next six innings. Powers walked one and hit a batsman, but struck out three. He was also 1-for-4 at the plate with a run scored.

The game changed in the fifth as the Astros had their first four men reach safely. Sam Steeves hit a single off the left field wall. Cruz Santana attempted to bunt him to second, Altoona starter Dan Resavy field the ball and threw to second, but it was off target and went into centerfield, putting runners on the corners. Webster and Gonzalez then both singled, and Santana and Webster both stole second. Steeves scored Boston's fourth run and Resavy was pulled for Corey Storm with two runners in scoring position. Storm retired the first three batters, but Webster scored on Lorenzo's sacrifice fly and Gonzalez scored on a wild pitch to put Boston ahead 7-2.

The Wises stranded two in the fifth off a walk and hit-batsmen. They stranded one in the sixth as Servello singled to center. In the seventh, Powers retired the Wises in order as Boston looked to be firmly in control.

   
Altoona's Jake Stern Boston fielding against Altoona Altoona fielding against Boston

Boston adds key insurance runs after Altoona rally

In the eighth, Powers was relieved by Manny Peguero and Altoona jumped all over him. Brett Hileman hit a book rule double into centerfield. Cy Treaster doubled him home. Justin Sleigh singled to right. Adam Polities singled to left to score Treaster from third. Servello singled to centerfield to keep the hit train rolling, finally prompting a pitching change. Jovan Henriquez popped out Chris Sinisi, but then hit pinch-hitter Eric Grace to bring in another run. #1 hitter Ethan Lewis then popped up to first base and Stern flew out to left as Henriquez escaped the jam with a 2 run lead.

Boston's Jamel Vilmont singled off reliever Brett Hileman (who moved to the mound from catcher) to begin the ninth inning. Three walks from Hileman put Santana, Webster, and Gonzalez on base and scored Vilmont. Miguel Lorenzo grounded out to first base, which scored Santana for a 4-run lead. Those walks and the decision to get an out at first rather than home would ultimately prove to be the difference.

A bad bounce for Wises

Trailing by four, Wise rallied in the bottom of the ninth. With one out, Treaster singled to right field and advanced to second when the ball was misplayed. Serafin singled to centerfield and an error at third base let Polities reach to load the bases. Servello then ripped a two-run single down the third base line, scoring Treaster and Serafin. Pitcher Henriquez struck out Sinisi looking for the second out, which brought up Eric Grace with runners on first and second.

Grace hit the ball deep into centerfield, and just like Hileman's hit in the eighth, the ball bounced over the fence into the bleachers. Both Polites and Servello scored easily on the play, which would have tied the game, but because the play was ruled as a book-rule double, Servello was sent back to third base. For the second consecutive inning, Henriquez got Lewis to pop out to first base. Servello was left standing at third as Boston barely escaped with a 9-8 win.

Undefeated Boston will now move on to play 4-1 New Orleans, while Altoona will face the winner of tonight's Johnstown / Philadelphia match.

 

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