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Walk-off homer leads Deltas past Mariners

by Gary Williams and Stephen Blue

Deltas runner Billy Funk slides to avoid a tag by third baseman Trey Powell of the Mariners in the first inning of Deltaville’s 13-12 on Friday.  (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

With two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning and the score tied, Dave Cunningham hit a walk-off solo home run, capping a wild 13-12 Deltaville Deltas victory Friday night over their in-town rival, the Middle Peninsula Mariners.

The shot capped a 5-run rally for the Deltas, helping “The Battle for the Ballpark” live up to its hype.

Middle Peninsula took the first lead in the back-and forth game when Trey Powell hit a two-run double in the top of the second inning. Luke Saunders followed with an RBI double and later scored on a single by Travis Crump.

Deltaville answered with a run in the bottom half of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Jimmy Denny. After two innings, the Mariners led 4-1.

The Deltas brought home two more runs in the bottom of the third. First baseman Neal Hogge drew a bases-loaded walk and Ryan Wiggins grounded into a run-scoring fielder’s choice to cut the Mariners lead to 4-3.

Wiggins would tie the game at 4-4 three innings later in the 6th, scoring on a Dustin Felvus single.

Wiggins would come through again for the Deltas in the 7th inning. With Matt Brown on third and one out, Wiggins hit a deep fly ball to center, which was caught, but allowed Brown to tag and score, giving the Deltas their first lead of the game, 5-4.

The lead would be only temporary, however. The Mariners’ bats came to life in the top of the 8th inning as they pushed across 7 runs on 4 hits, 3 walks, and 2 hit batsmen. Bryan Hannum pushed across the first run with an RBI single.

Middle Peninsula then loaded the bases for L. Saunders, who crushed a 3-run double to right center. The Mariners reloaded the bases and Moore followed with an RBI single. Two more runs were walked in, and when the inning finally ended Middle Peninsula held an 11-5 lead.

Deltaville immediately responded in the bottom of the 8th with 3 runs on 3 hits, a pair of walks, and a crucial defensive error, cutting the Mariners’ lead to 11-8.

Middle Peninsula’s Drew Hooper answered in the top of the 9th, plating L. Saunders with an RBI single and stretching the Mariners’ lead to 12-8.

Deltaville’s final rally in the bottom of the 9th began with a double by Denny, and Felvus being hit by a pitch. The bases were loaded on a Billy Funk walk, and Chris King hit a sacrifice fly to score Denny.

Brown then tied the game at 12-12, crushing a 3-run home run to left center field. Cunningham then followed with his walk-off home run, completing the Deltas’ dramatic rally.

A large crowd was on hand to see the two teams that call Deltaville Ballpark home square off. Both teams had former Middlesex High School standouts on the mound—Scott Crump for the Mariners, and Jay Moore for the Deltas.

Moore went 7 2/3 innings, allowing 11 runs (4 earned) on 10 hits and 2 walks while striking out 7. Terry Emerson earned the win in relief, pitching the final 1 1/3 innings. He allowed a run on 3 hits. Brandon Hanks pitched to one batter in the 8th inning.

James Bierlein picked up the loss for the Mariners. Bierlien went 5 innings and gave up 8 earned runs on 8 hits. Crump pitched 4 innings and gave up 3 runs on 3 hits.

The Deltas were led at the plate by Denny, Felvus and Funk, who each picked up 2 hits apiece. Denny singled and doubled, and Funk and Felvus each singled twice. Brown and Cunningham both homered, and King, Hogge, Wiggins and Brett Crawford each singled. All nine Deltas starters reached safely on hits.

Offensively, the Mariners were led by L. Saunders who went 3 for 5 with 2 doubles and 4 RBIs. Also for Middle Peninsula, Travis Crump 3 singles, an RBI and hit by a pitch; James Moore, single, RBI, walk; James Bierlein, single, walk; Bryan Hannum, 2 singles, 2 RBIs, walk; Scott Crump, hit by a pitch; Kevin Davis, sacrifice, walk; Trey Powell, double, 2 RBIs; and Drew Hooper, 2 singles, RBI, hit by a pitch.

The Mariners and Deltas both had other games last weekend, and have important matchups coming up this weekend. See related articles for more information.

posted 07.25.2008

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