Dominoes are what come to mind when thinking about the Eugene Emeralds’ offense in the second half of the season. Dominoes that were set up all in a row of intricate design. All it took was one nudge or push and the dominoes would all fall in a row by itself. The Emeralds were held hitless until the fourth inning and then a lead off base hit was all the nudge the Emeralds needed. The Emeralds exploded for nine hits and took advantage of every dirt ball on their way to five runs. They did the little things unseen in the box score to pull out this victory.
“Unbelievable. We read four down angles. Jones had one, Komo had one, Miller had one, Whitmore had one. It’s huge,” Manager Pat Murphy said.
The Emeralds sure do seem to love late inning drama. With the score tied 4-4, Lee Orr led off the bottom of the eleventh with a triple. He later would score the winning run on a walk off walk of all things.
“First time I’ve ever been apart of that and I like that a lot better than having to beat a throw to home on a grounder,” Orr joked.
The first inning of Saturday night’s game got off to a theatrical start to say the least. The Volcanoes started off the game with a base hit up the middle off starter Juan Herrera. On the third pitch of the next at-bat, Shawn Payne took off for second only to be gunned down by catcher Matt Colantonio. The Volcanoes Manager, Tom Trebelhorn, thought otherwise and an argument took place. The next pitch, Leonardo Ochoa takes Herrera’s pitch deep over the right field fence for a solo homerun.
Trebelhorn was ejected by base umpire, Travis Eggerts, from the opposite side of the field on the following pitch. The events that took place after could only be described as a Youtube worthy tirade. Following the show, Herrera settled down and retired the next two batters.
For the second inning in a row the Volcanoes had their lead off man reach base only to be gunned down by Colantonio. Herrera took Colantonio’s lead and retired the next two batters to end the top half of the second.
In the bottom of the fourth, Casey McElroy led off with a double to give the Emeralds their first hit of the night. Daunel Jones reached base on an error by the shortstop and the Emeralds had runners on first and third with no body out. After a Travis Whitmore strikeout, Jones got a great read on a ball in the dirt and took second base. Jones’ read proved to be a huge play as it took away the double play ball. Zach Kometani took a two-strike fastball and ripped a groundball through the left side for a two-RBI double. Again base running proved to be huge as Kometani went to third on a ball in the dirt and was able to score on a Colantonio groundball single. The rally finally ended on a 6-4-3 double play.
The Volcanoes would strike back in the fifth. The inning started off with a hit by pitch and a base hit. The Volcanoes elected to play small ball, trailing 3-1, and it paid off. With runners on second and third and one out, a ground ball to the second baseman cut the Emeralds lead to one. The Emeralds lead was gone in a flash, after the second pitch to Payne reached the backstop. Herrera’s night came to a close after giving up another base hit. He threw four and two-thirds innings while giving up three runs on five hits. Reliever Jeremy Gigliotti recorded the last out of the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Emeralds got off to a great start with a lead off base hit from Whitmore. Whitmore swiped second and reached third on another base hit from Colantonio. The Emeralds scored on a wild pitch to go up 4-3.
Volcanoes were not down as they scored in the top of the ninth on two base hits and a hit by pitch, but the Emeralds walked away with the win in the bottom of the eleventh.
Justin Miller also extended his hit streak to 14 games with his base hit in the bottom of the fifth.
“It’s an everyday grind and you keep going and going and just fortunate to pull out a hit every now and then,” Miller said.
Donavan Tate is likely done for the season. He is headed back to San Diego to have his wrist examined.