Oh, so close as Miners eke out 5-4 win

“It ain’t over til it’s over,” Yogi Berra so famously said. Tonight’s game wasn’t over until the seventh pitch to Chinook designated hitter Holt Davis. When it was called a strike, he and fans sitting in the bleachers behind home plate were wishing that a borderline strike call a couple of pitches earlier had gone the other way.

With that in mind, let’s recap the game to that point.

After the first visiting batter, centerfielder Brick Paskiewiscz, was struck out by Chinook hurler Braxton Wilks, Miner rightfielder Chris Hall doubled. A throwing error on a grounder hit by leftfielder Vance Vizcaino brought Hall home and left the batter on second. The score stood at one until the top of the third when Hill singled and was brought home by designated hitter Matt Diorio.

The Chinooks came back to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth when centerfielder David Morton doubled, then Michael Staudinger singled. Both scored on another two-bagger by Tyler Boxwell.

The tie game held until the top of the seventh. Chinooks reliever Nathan Karkenny, who came in with two out and two on in the top of the fifth, got the third out on a fly to right on one pitch to end the inning. His luck soured in the next inning after the Miner catcher flew out to center only to see Paskiewiscz triple. Hill, the next hitter, flew out to right. Vizcaino followed him with another triple, scoring Paskiewiscz. Diorio then singled to bring in Vizcaino.

One more run by the Valley team came in the top of the ninth.
Now for the excitement that would have made Berra proud.
The home team came to bat in the bottom of the ninth with head coach Jordan Vierra sending in two pinch-hitters. They faced the Miner centerfielder who doubles as their closer. Cadon Owens drew a walk from the lanky right-hander whose dark locks hang almost to his shoulder. Mogg flew out to Vizcaino deep in left, the blow raising hopes of the faithful on the third-base side. Patrick Cromwell, the Nooks’ third-baseman, walked to put a second Fish on. Then came a strikeout, but Morton walked to keep the inning alive. With two out, Dave Furuto singled to load the bases. Hopes built to a fever pitch as Michael Staudinger, the Chinooks cleanup hitter, stepped to the plate. He had two strikes when Paskiewiscz threw one a bit too far inside, hitting Staudinger and forcing Owens home to make it one run from a tie game once more.

That brought Davis to the plate with the bases still loaded and one run need- ed With the count three and one, the next pitch seemed both low and inside, causing Davis to grin until the umpire loudly declared it a strike. Davis’ grin turned to a look of disbelief. He turned back to the batter’s box and stood in. Paskiewkscz’s next offering also was called a strike and third out.

It was finally over. Davis was crestfallen. Chinooks fans were disappointed. Miner fans were happy. Everyone agreed it was a good and exciting game.

The same two teams meet tomorrow night at 7. Next comes a much-needed day off.

 

Story by Lee Jordan

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