Baseball: 5 Run 9th Carries Monsters Past Valley Cats

Courtesy Vermont Lake Monsters

TROY, NY —After collecting just two hits over the first eight innings in a New York-Penn League game delayed by a power outage, the Vermont Lake Monsters powered up their offense outages for five runs on five hits in the top of the ninth for a 6-1 New York-Penn League victory over the Tri-City ValleyCats Wednesday night at Bruno Stadium.

Anthony Churlin got the rally started in the ninth with a one-out groundball single to short and advanced to second when Alfonso Rivas was hit by a pitch. Jeremy Eierman, who was 3-for-his-previous-28, followed with a groundball single to leftfield scoring Churlin with the go ahead run.

After a Jose Rivas flyball to center for the second out, Devin Foyle grounded a two-run double down the leftfield line to score Alfonso Rivas and Eierman for a 4-1 Lake Monsters advantage. Jonah Bride and Joseph Pena added two more RBI singles in the inning for a five-run lead.

Slater Lee (2-1), who had come on in relief for Vermont to start the bottom of the seventh, retired all nine ValleyCats he faced with four strikeouts over three perfect innings of relief to earn the win as Vermont (11-8) won for the sixth time in the last eight games to open up a two-game lead in the Stedler Divison at the quarter-mark of the season (19 of 76 games).

Gilberto Celestino had a leadoff homer to start bottom of fourth off Vermont starter Adam Reuss, who allowed just the one run on four hits with one walk and five strikeouts over the first four innings before the game was delayed. The stadium power had gone out during the first inning, but the game continued until the top of the fifth when the game was delayed 57 minutes due to darkness until power was restored.

When play did resume, Vermont’s Jameson Hannah hit a one-out solo home run in top of the sixth for his first professional homer and the Lake Monsters first home run since June 24th (homerless in previous eight games). Vermont’s only other hit over the first eight frames was a Foyle leadoff single in the third inning.

Gus Varland took over in relief of Reuss to start the fifth and tossed two scoreless innings with one hit, two walks and one strikeout. Vermont pitchers have allowed the ValleyCats just one run and nine hits over the last 22 innings played (dating back to sixth inning on Monday).

Reliever Hansel Paulino allowed just the Hannah home run and struckout four over three innings for Tri-City (9-10), while Luis De Paula (0-3) was charged with all five runs (four earned) and five hits in the ninth inning to take the loss.

The Lake Monsters and ValleyCats will meet for the fifth straight day on Thursday with the second of the three-game series at Tri-City beginning at 7:00 pm. After the series finale Friday, Vermont returns to Centennial Field for a three-game homestand against Connecticut beginning on Saturday.