Late Rally pushes T-Birds into Quarterfinals
Despite a rough showing in the field early on, the Thunderbirds buckled down, rallied in the bottom of the 7th and knocked of the Dodgers 6-5 Thursday night at Reverchon Park. Brent Smerczynski got the win in a complete game effort giving up 1 earned run and racking up nine K’s on the night. After working around a some errors, broken bat singles and flares in the first few innings, no runner passed 1st base the remainder of the night. The Birds scored 2 unearned runs early, but fell behind 5-2 where it stayed until the 7th despite several hard hit balls right at defenders and a few diving catches for the Dodgers to kill rallies.
In the 7th inning, Jody Nicewonger led off the inning with a line drive single to right center, but was erased when his pinch runner was doubled off first after the Dodger 2nd baseman snagged a laser up the middle from Brad Petty. Down to their last out, down 3 and with the bases empty, the Thunderbirds mounted a rally for the ages. Phil Luna worked a gritty at bat ending in a walk. Brian Synatzske then singled to left center putting runners at 1st and 2nd. Bodie Wilson then fouled off several tough pitches before taking a fastball to the back to load the bases. Smerczynski then laced a outside fastball to left center for a bases clearing double to tie the game at 5. After a Dodger pitching change, the first pitch was a passed ball sending Smerczynski to third and an errant throw to third sailed into left field allowing him to score the game ending and winning run.
The Thunderbirds were led at the plate by Smerczynski with 2 hits and 3 RBIs, Synatzske and Nicewonger with 2 hits and runs scored apiece. Other birds collecting hits were Wilson with a single and 2 runs scored and Fabian Mendive.
The win puts the Birds in the the quarterfinals where they will square off against the Spirits Tuesday night at Graham field.