May 10, 2005
Seven runs is a lot for one team in a baseball game, What, then, is seven runs in one inning? A LOT of runs. Strap yourself in and prepare for the story of how the Akron Aeros pulled off this feat 15 years ago today.
The Aeros (now the RubberDucks) were at Jerry Uht Park (now UPMC Park) to take on the Erie SeaWolves (still the SeaWolves), the Double-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers (as they are today). They entered the fifth inning down 5-3 in a game that already was not exactly a pitchers’ duel. Things were about to get even crazier quickly, and in the favor of the guys with a Space Cat on their hats and sleeves.
CF J.J. Sherrill, a 23rd round draft pick who was in his final year of affiliated baseball and batted ninth, led off the inning with a walk. SS Ivan Ochoa, who would go on to bat exactly .200 in 47 career major league games (all with the 2008 San Francisco Giants), followed with a line drive single to center. A bad throw put both runners in scoring position.
The first run of the innings scored when everyone moved up a base on a single off of the bat of 1B Scott Youngbauer, a journeyman whose career would top outwith half a season in Triple-A with the Tacoma Rainiers (Seattle Mariners) the next season. After 2B Jose Morban was called out on strikes for the first out of the inning, Franklin Gutierrez (one of only two hitters in this lineup to ever don an Indians uniform at Progressive Field) singled to left to score Ochoa and tie the game.
Another single to left ensued to load the bases. This one from LF Jason Cooper, who made it to Triple-A Buffalo later that season and made a good career there despite never getting called up to the majors in four full seasons at the level (coming up one season short of playing for the Columbus Clippers in 2010). 3B Pat Osborn, in his first of three full seasons at the Corner of State and Main (where his MiLB career would peak), then hit a two-run double to give the Akron nine the lead. A walk to RF Jon Van Every (a guy who would go on to play 39 games for the Boston Red Sox despite being a 29th round draft pick) spelled the end of the day for SeaWolves starter (and future Tigers reliever) Joel Zumaya.
Things didn’t start much better for reliever Matt Roney, but through no fault of his own. A fielding error on what should have been an easy force out kept the bases loaded as Armando Camacaro (the other man in the Aeros lineup that day to wear an Indians jersey at the Corner of Carnegie and Ontario – as a Bullpen Catcher) reached safely. After a Sherrill fly out to center to start the second time around the order, Ochoa put an exclamation point on the inning with a two-run single.
A bunch of guys who wouldn’t be drafted in 2020 who had little to noting in the way of major league careers playing at a park that may not have affiliated baseball in 2021. What some in the baseball world might consider “useless”. I guarantee you that half-inning wasn’t useless to those players, their manager and coaches, and the Aeros fans either listening to Jim Clark on 1350 or in the stands in Erie (I don’t think MiLB,TV was a thing at this point).
I think I’ve made my point.