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10th Inning Bases Loaded Sac Fly By Preston Tucker Gives The ‘Cats A Walk-Off Win
TROY, NY- If you thought the semi-final series against the Auburn Doubledays was nerve-racking, then you might want to buckle your seat belts. The ValleyCats collected their first walk-off win of the season, edging out the Hudson Valley Renegades in game one of the championship series 5-4.
ValleyCats starter Juri Perez would put the home team in a hole right from the get-go. Joey Rickard would hit a lead-off double down the left field line, and would advance to third base on a fielding error by Catfish Elkins. Rickard would come in on a balk from Perez, the second balk of the post-season for Tri-City, giving the Renegades the 1-0 lead. ‘Gades catcher Luke Maile would hit a two-run bomb to left field, over the ‘Cats bullpen, widening the lead to 3-0.
Tri-City bounced back with authority, collecting two runs in the bottom of the second and third innings. With a runner on, Dan Gulbransen hit a home run to right field, his first of the postseason (his third off Renegades starter Eduar Quinonez), trimming the deficit to one.
“I don’t know [what Quinonez keeps throwing me],” said Gulbransen. “But I just keep hitting it out.”
The ‘Cats got another shot in the arm, this time by Elkins in the bottom of the third. Joe Sclafani would walk to start the inning (his second of the day), and would steal second base to put himself in scoring position. Elkins, who just missed a homer in the bottom of the first, turned on a 3-1 pitch and deposited it into the Renegades bullpen. The ValleyCats quickly turned the game around, leading 4-3 after three innings.
Juri Perez settled down after the first inning, putting up four straight zeroes on the scoreboard. He was relieved in the top of the sixth by Vincent Velasquez, who was making his first appearance in over a month. For the most part, he did not disappoint. At one point, Velasquez retired eight in-a-row, which carried the ‘Cats into the ninth.
But with one out in the top of the ninth, Leonardo Reginatto, who has played the hero role before for Hudson Valley, would get another shot. On a 1-0 pitch, Reginatto crushed one to left, tying the score at four.
The ValleyCats survived a scare in the top of the tenth. Hudson Valley had two on with two out, but could not score.
In the bottom of the 10th, after a lead-off ground out by Emilio King, Renegades reliever Marcus Jensen would give up three straight singles to load the bases for Preston Tucker. Tucker hit a majestic fly ball to right, plenty deep enough to score Ryan Dineen from third, sending the ValleyCats crowd into a frenzy.
Tri-City is now one win away from capturing it’s second New York-Penn League Championship in two years. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. EST from Dutchess Stadium. The game will be broadcast on www.tcvalleycats.com.
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