RECAP: Otters rally and win in home run derby against Y'alls
FLORENCE, Ky. - The Evansville Otters rallied from a three-run deficit in the ninth inning Thursday against the Florence Y’alls to tie the game 9-9 and force an extra-inning home run derby, winning their 10th victory of the season with a 9-0 derby final.
The Y’alls took the first lead of the ballgame in the bottom of the first, when Chad Sedio hit his second home run in as many nights with two outs to give the Y’alls a 1-0 lead. After two more two-out singles to Trevor Craport and Harrison DiNicola, an errant throw from catcher Justin Felix trickled into center field, allowing Craport to score from third.
The Otters drew back within one a half inning later, thanks to Cristopher Pujols’ one-out bomb to center field. They would tie it up on an Andy DeJesus two-out, two-strike RBI single.
The Y’alls regained the lead on a sacrifice fly to center field off the bat of Luis Pintor with the bases loaded. Miles Gordon slammed into the center field fence to make the catch on the run, limiting the damage to just one on a sparkling defensive play.
Florence would extend their lead to three in the bottom of the third, when DiNicola would homer with one out and Jordan Brower, who doubled in the inning, would score from third on a sacrifice fly from Will Baker.
The Otters would score two in the fourth after a leadoff base hit from John Schultz. He would eventually score on an RBI fielder’s choice hit by DeJesus. Then Felix, who reached base via his second hit-by-pitch, scored on an infield single from Elijah MacNamee.
Polo Portela rebounded after struggling through his first three innings to retire the side in order in frames four and five.
In the top of the sixth, Evansville tied things up for the second time Thursday night, when MacNamee drove in DeJesus from third with an RBI groundout.
Abraham Almonte came on in the sixth to pitch a scoreless inning, but allowed the Y’alls to take a three-run lead in the bottom of the seventh after allowing three earned on four hits and two walks.
Tyler Spring came on to end the Y’alls' rally by striking out Pintor to finish the seventh. Spring would pitch the seventh and eighth innings scoreless.
Evansville began the ninth inning down three runs, when Bryce Denton reached on a fielding error by the third baseman. Dakota Phillips brought the tying run to the plate when he followed Denton with a base hit through the right side of the infield. Then, Pujols drove in his second run of the day and brought the Otters within two with a double that put the tying run in scoring position.
Evansville’s all-time doubles and RBI leader John Schultz then stepped to plate, and smacked a game-tying, two-run double to right field in the biggest at-bat of the ball game. It was the third time the Otters had rallied to tie the game, the second time from behind three runs.
Samson Abernathy came on in the ninth to pitch a 1-2-3 inning and send the game to extras, where Frontier League rules dictate the use of the international tie-breaker rule.
The tenth inning began with MacNamee on second base. Denton delivered the go-ahead knock when he doubled into the right field corner with one out, scoring MacNamee.
The Y’alls managed to tie the game with the international tie-breaker run, after Logan Sawyer came on to pitch the tenth. Sawyer stranded the winning run at third with a 1-4-6 fielder’s choice, as second baseman Trent Nash made a solid play to glove the grounder that deflected off Sawyer.
The end of the tenth sent the game to a Home Run Derby to decide a winner. Riley Krane opened up the derby with five towering home runs. He was followed by Phillips, who also clubbed one. After the Y’alls failed to hit a dinger in their first two chances, Denton only needed three homers to send the Otters to their 10th victory of the season. He clubbed his third and final home run for the Otters in the derby to left field. The Otters won by a derby score of 9-0, with a technical 9-9 final.
There was no winning or losing pitcher.
With the win, the Otters improve to 10-4 on the season, and edge their way into a first place tie with the Florence Y’alls in the West Division standings.
The Otters open a nine-game homestand from Bosse Field against the Schaumburg Boomers Friday night. First pitch will be at 6:35 p.m. CT.
Tickets can be purchased online at evansvilleotters.com, by calling (812) 435-8686, or at the Bosse Field box office.
The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions.
The Otters play all home games at historic Bosse Field, located at 23 Don Mattingly Way in Evansville, Ind. Stay up-to-date with the Evansville Otters by visiting evansvilleotters.com, or follow the Otters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
For more information, visit evansvilleotters.com or call (812) 435-8686.