Game date: October 30th, 2020
Pittsburgh started the day with a 3-2 lead – would there be celebrating in Pittsburgh tonight, or are we going to game 7. Let’s find out!
The first inning was a microcosm of this entire series. In typical Charleston small-ball fashion, leadoff hitter Dave Dillman hit a single to start the game, then moved to 2nd on an error and to 3rd on a fly out. Bannon Rymer walked to load the bases, and Alan Larson singled to bring Dillman home. Hu Pian was thrown out at home on Larson’s single for the 2nd out. The next man up, Randy Carman, walked to load the bases again, but Jeff Berry flew out left to end the threat.
Not to be outdone, the Pisces struck back immediately. Eduardo Corona singled, but was throw out trying to steal 2nd. Matt McConnell was hit by a pitch 2 batters later, and Danilo Henriquez launched a pitch over left center for a 2 run home run to give the Pisces a 2-1 lead.
Charleston catcher Michael Johnson decided that this was no time to mess around, and fired back with a solo shot to tie the game at 2 half way through the second inning.
Both pitchers settled down for a few innings after that, but Charleston’s bats came alive again in the top of the 5th by rattling off 4 singles to take a 3-2 lead, and again in the 7th with a solo home run by Remo Demartino to stretch the lead to 4-2
The next 2 half innings went by without incident, but sensing that their time was running out, Pittsburgh fought back in the bottom of the 8th. A double by Ward Davis, followed by run scoring single from William Garant cut the lead to 1. The next batter up, Eduardo Corona, doubled, but Garant was unable to score and was stuck at 3rd. Fortunately, David Kirby hit a deep sac fly, and Garant was able to score easily. Tie ballgame! Matt McConnell couldn’t keep the rally going, so we go to the 9th tied at 4!
Ivan Montoya sat the Blockade Runners down in order in the 9th, so it was Pittsburgh’s chance to take the lead and the championship. Henriquez popped out for the first out, but Johnston singled at went to second on a wild pitch, Jim Campbell was given a IBB after that to put men on 1st and 2nd with 1 out, but Pittsburgh was unable to capitalize – Arthur Kerr struck out looking and Ward Davis flew out to end the inning. Extra innings!
The 10th inning came and went with the scored tied at 4, but things got interesting after that. Charleston catcher Michael Johnson hit his 2nd home run of the game to give the Blockade Runners a 5-4 lead. Would it be enough to send the series to game 7?
Matt McConnell lead off with an infield popup for out #1, and Danilo Henriquez grounded out for the 2nd out. It was all down to Andrew Johnstone, and boy did he deliver. After a foul ball, he crushed the ball 418 feet over right center, and we’re back to a tie ballgame! On to the 11th!
Remo Demartino grounded out to start the inning, but Bannon Rymer came through with a solo home run to give Charleston yet another lead! Larson and Carman both flied out to center, but a lead is a lead! Would this one finally be enough to send the series to a 7th game?
Double machine Ward Davis lead off with (you guessed it) another double, and moved to 3rd on a bunt by the pitcher. However, that turned out to be unnecessary, as Eduardo Corona ripped another double to center to score Davis! Tied again! Charleston yanked Milliard Quinn and brought in Aubrey Schaal to stop the bleeding. The first batter he faced, David Kirby, worked the count to 2-1 before smashing a line drive single to score the pitcher. Game over! Pisces win!
Congrats to Pittsburgh and Charleston on another fine season! I’ll sim the off day tomorrow or Tuesday to take us to the offseason, at which point we’ll announce the offseason schedule. We’ll likely let Justin bask in the warm glow of a championship until after the holidays, but stay tuned for an official announcement in the next 48 hours