Threshers Walkoff Jays


When I wrote about the public introduction of the 2015 Clearwater Threshers players earlier this week, I mentioned how this year’s team has character. Then on Opening Night, the team turned a triple play, playing as if they had been together for years. It’s not an easy task, but they did it.

I was talking with one of my player friends and he agreed that this year’s locker room is special, that everyone is getting along and they have fun together. To me, this is a huge key to a successful season.

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You can have a talented team, but if the players do not get along, there is a great chance that all the talent in the world won’t result in winning. Conversely, you can have a team that may not be as talented, but they often find a way to win simply because the chemistry gives them the extra “oomph” they need.

That being said, I think this year’s Threshers might be the rarest kind of team – the one with the talent AND chemistry. Time will tell if my gut feeling about this team will pan out over the reality of a long season.

Cozens scores the winning run in the bottom of the 11th.

Brandon Leibrandt only gave up one run to the Dunedin Blue Jays, that coming in the first inning. Andrew Knapp single to score Devin Lohman tied the game in the third, and things remained knotted at 1-1 until the bottom of the 11th.

Dylan Cozens hit a single, advancing to 2nd on a throwing error by Jays shortstop Dawel Lugo, who overthrew first. Cozens was almost stranded as Zach Green struck out and Aaron Brown popped out.

With two outs, catcher Willians Astudillo stepped to the plate. Astudillo smacked the ball exactly where it needed to be, into the gap between the second and first basemen, allowing Cozens to score the walkoff game-winning run from second.

Not only did the crowd go wild, the team stormed the field to celebrate!

It was an amazing night.

Below is a video courtesy of my other half, Baseball Ross, capturing the winning play and team celebration.

The Threshers never seemed like they were going to give up. There was never a feeling that they wouldn’t win, it was just a matter of time. It was a very different feeling from last season.

Wawa (the convenience store) gives out free coffee coupons for extra innings, and dollar off “Shorti Sub” coupons for wins…last season (the Threshers ended the season 40 games under .500) we sadly got more coffee coupons than sub coupons. I don’t believe we ever got both for an extra innings win. So lunch on Sunday was courtesy of the Threshers! Cheers!

NOTE: The Jays got a measure of revenge on Sunday afternoon, rallying with a pair of runs in the bottom of the 8th for a 6-5 victory. Both clubs are now 2-2 on the young season. The Threshers will head on the road to face the Jupiter Hammerheads, minor league affiliates to the Miami Marlins.