Simply stated, this was one of the most exciting games in Spirit history but also one of the most heartbreaking losses. Campanelli Stadium has always been an awful place for the Spirit and that trend continued with a crushing 4-3 loss at the hands of the Rox in 13 innings.
With the score 1-1 in the 10th inning, Darren Blakely hit a 1 out triple off of Ryan Bernard. Then, Adam Balkan brought him home with a sac fly to give the Spirit the 2-1 advantage.
But in the bottom of the frame, Donny Langdon, brought in to start the 10th, was clearly rattled by the pressure.
He walked de La Cruz on 4 pitches and then gave up an RBI double to Gonzalez, tying the score at 2. A Houdini act by Jamie Baker kept the game alive. With the bases loaded and 1 out, Joe Hough popped out to first and Fransisco LeBron popped out to right field to end the inning.
Baker continued to pitch magnificently and kept the game tied into the 13th. In the 13th frame, Gary Roche made a successful squeeze bunt to score Blakely and put the Spirit on top for the 3rd time on the night.
But again, the lead would not be held. With 1 out, Fransisco LeBron popped one up near the stands on the first base side but Josue Lopez had it pop out of his glove....... UGH HE IS SO USELESS... and LeBron went on to single. Then Guye Senjem walked and Jason Radwan singled, chasing Baker who pitched tremendously but wound up with the hard luck loss.
Shawn McNamara came in and threw a grand total of one pitch to De La Cruz, who knocked a 2RBI single to give the Rox an incredible win.
Joey Siak and John Kelly had outstanding starting pitching efforts. Siak went 7 innings giving up 1 run and John Kelly tossed 9 innings giving up just the 1 run. Derek Drage came in and bridged the gap for the Spirit until the 10th.
We really missed Dennis Robinson tonight.
At the end of the game Vic Davilla got into a furious screaming match with the umpires over ball and strike calls made during the decisive 13th inning. He was certainly inconsistent as he suddenly started squeezing Baker, but it was stupid to just go off on them like that at the end of the game. It looked really dumb. I also saw Vic conferencing with N.L. a few times during the game. What's up with that?
I was as happy as anyone about getting rid of Kennedy but it's starting to look like he was shipped off not to bring in a better baseball guy but to cut costs and have a Loyal Soldier of the Spirit Staff run the ship. Vic definitely has potential but maybe he wasn't ready to manage just yet.
Quite honestly, we really need his bat in the lineup. He stepped in in two games and got three hits and led the Spirit to two wins.
We could have used his bat tonight, and we could have used his glove at first base..... Lopez is awful.
Come back Vic?
Three (four, five, six?) cheers for Joey Siak, and three more for old friend John Kelly, who was absolutely masterful tonight.
Three more cheers for Jamie Baker, tonight's player of the game. He deserved a better fate, but we just plain ran out of guys to go to.
I had a lot of fun tonight... Fun Is Good after all. With the exception of a few nutters in the 13th I had great interaction with all the Brockton fans tonight and even made some friends with our three signs:
ROX: THE TRUE 2006 CHAMPS - YOU GOT HOSED!
This was probably the most fun I've had at a game all year -- the place was electric and supportive and the atmosphere was fun. Maybe it's because my previous experiences in Brockton have been on a Friday or Saturday night which must obviously attract the drunk crowd. Tonight's crowd was great.
Fun is good.
Losing is bad.