I mentioned back on opening night here in Clearwater just how special this 2015 Threshers team feels, which is a very different feeling from last years’ team. The Phillies High-A club here just might have caught lightening in a bottle.
In the very first game of the season, the club turned a triple play. Last Saturday, the Threshers were down and summoned the energy to walk-off a win on a single by Willians Astudillo. Last Friday night, there was something special happening yet again.
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Andrew Pullin tied the game 3-3 in the bottom of the 8th when he blasted a homerun well over the right-center field fence.
It would remain tied at 3 for nine more innings. Yes, you read that correctly, for NINE more innings. After battling through an entire regulation game, they played what amounts to another entire game in order to finally gain the victory.
The game was started by Miguel Nuñez, who delivered a solid 5 innings. The Threshers were trailing 3-2 when his night ended, but this is not last year’s hang-dog team. You knew they would fight until the end, and that’s just what happened.
Nuñez started on the hill, working 5 effective innings for Clearwater on Wednesday eveningNext in for the Threshers came reliever Lino Martinez, who held the team in the game for the 6th and 7th innings. He was followed to the mound by Lee Ridenhour, “Rocket Arm”, who warmed up to Elton John’s famous song “Rocket Man“.
“Rocket Arm” Ridenhour uses Elton John as his warmup musicRidenhour fired for three sharp, shutout innings, continuing to keep the Threshers in the mix through and beyond the dramatic tying blast by Pullin. At the end of 10, it was still tied, and Clearwater turned to Edubray Ramos. Ramos has been near-perfect thus far this season, and this outing contributed 3 innings, allowing 2 hits and a walk while striking out 4.
Cody Forsythe came in for the top of the 14th and performed like a champ. Manager Greg Legg had enough confidence in Forsythe that Legg didn’t even start to have anyone up in the bullpen again until midway through the 17th. Over his 4 innings, Forsythe would allow just 2 hits, striking out 6 and walking no one. An amazing performance by any standards!
Forsythe delivered a dominating four relief innings from the 14th-17 last nightFinally, the Threshers would end the marathon with a dramatic rally in the bottom of the 17th. With one out, Brodie Greene singled, and was “balked” to second base. The Tigers then intentionally walked Pullin. Jose Mayorga then walked to load the bases, bringing Dylan Cozens to the plate. Cozens delivered the clutch, game-winning single into the hole between first and second, scoring Greene to finally set off a victory celebration.
The ball zooms into the outfield past the Lakeland defender
The Threshers storm the field to celebrateThe Threshers win! What a game! It was finally over at 11:30pm. I was so glad that we had stayed until the end.
Two weeks into the season and this team is playing with more heart than we ever saw in all of 2014. I’m gobsmacked.
No longer do they fold when they are down, they keep fighting to the end and it’s playing off in spades.