May 4, 2019
On this day one year ago, the Columbus Clippers found themselves down 5-1 to the Toledo Mud Hens (Detroit Tigers) through five innings at Fifth Third Field (the one in Toledo, not the one in Dayton). Things started to look up after a two-run homer off the bat of 1B Bobby Bradley cut the Toledo lead in half. While the top of the seventh was largely uneventful, RF Brandon Barnes’ double play did drive in another run. The game-tying run also came on an out, with Barnes hitting into a 4-6 fielders’ choice on this occasion. The comeback was complete, The Clippers had forced extra innings.
The top of the tenth was quiet, but the Clippers barely escaped the bottom of the frame as the runner on second to start the inning don’t get me started on that rule), an intentional walk (likely a result of the rule), and a hit batter got the Toledo nine 90 feet from extra-inning victory. This escape would prove to be pivotal…
The top of the eleventh started with 3B Tyler Krieger on second base (on, as a I like to score it, an “EC” – error on the Commissioner). following a ground out by DH Greg Allen, CF Oscar Mercado walked (not intentionally). C Tim Federowicz then doubled to score Krieger. The Clippers had the lead for the first time…in the eleventh inning!
They weren’t done yet, however. Barnes came back up to the plate and was issued an intentional walk to load the bases. This served only to make the ensuing non-intentional free pass to SS Ryan Flaherty more costly as there was nowhere for Mercado to go other than home. Not surprisingly, Mud Hens reliever Zac Houston got a head start on his post-game shower at this point.
Not that his replacement, Sandy Baez, did much better. Thompson doubled in the next at-bat to clear the bases and close out the day’s scoring at 10-5 in favor of the Central Ohio side. The Mud Hens went three up, three down in the bottom of the inning to complete their collapse and seal a “force”-ful comeback victory.