ATC 0 0 1 / 0 1 0 / 2 0 0 -- 4
NSS 2 1 0 / 1 1 0 / 0 0 X -- 5
Well, it wound up being a nailbiter (of course)! The Spirit hung on to defeat the Atlantic City Surf 5-4 in game 1 of the semifinals in front of a tiny crowd at Fraser Field.
The Spirit held a 5-2 lead in the 7th, but the Surf clawed back with a 2 out rally off of Spirit starter Ryan Bicondoa. David Keesee hit an RBI double to make it 5-3. Then, Lucas Taylor knocked an RBI single in to left field to cut the lead to 5-4. Bicondoa escaped the jam by getting Anthony Granato to strike out looking with the go-ahead run on base.
In the 8th, Bicondoa worked his way into a jam, but Donny Langdon and Derek Drage worked their way out of it ---- barely.
With 2 men on and 1 out, Bicondoa was lifted for Langdon, who came in to face the left hander Clyde Williams. He whiffed Williams for the 2nd out of the inning and was quickly lifted for closer Derek Drage, who was called upon to get four outs.
He got off to a shaky start, giving up an infield single to Rob Fischer to load the bases. Alex Trezza then made what may well have been a game-saving play. After a pitch to Wally Rosa, Trezza caught Fischer sleeping at first and rifled a snap-throw to the 1st baseman. Fischer was tagged out to end the inning and the threat was defused.
There was more drama to come in the 9th for Drage. Wally Rosa popped out to start the inning, but David Keesee walked to give the surf a chance. With Lucas Taylor up, Drage threw a wild pitch to move Keesee into scoring position. Drage then whiffed Taylor for a huge 2nd out.
That brought up Anthony Granato, who flew out to center field to end the ball game and give the Spirit the 1-0 series lead.
Bicondoa got the win, and Surf ace Brian Rodaway got the loss after giving up 3 early runs in the first 2 innings. He ultimately gave up 5 runs in 7 innings of work.
The Spirit struck first in the home half of the first inning with a 2-out rally. Vic Davilla singled and Luis Lopez walked to bring up Nilson Teilon. Teilon singled up the middle to score the first Spirit run. Then, the throw home was wild, allowing Lopez to score and making it 2-0.
A scorched Jerson Perez homer to left field increased the lead to 3-0 for Bicondoa.
The Spirit put up single runs in the 4th and 5th to cap off their offense for the night. In the 4th, Trezza launched a leadoff double and was brought home by a bloop RBI single by Gary Roche. One inning later, Josue Lopez picked up an RBI to make it 5-2.
Atlantic City would add two to their total, but the Spirit hung on, and are now two wins away from the finals.