Zach Penprase’s go-ahead two-run single in the bottom of the first gave the New York Boulders a lead they would not relinquish as they defeated the Tri-City Valley Cats 9-3 on Thursday.
The Valley Cats started the game off with a bang as the lead-off hitter, Steven Figueroa, smashed the second pitch of the night over the short porch in right field.
The Boulders made sure that lead wouldn’t last for long. In the bottom half of the first, Milton Smith and Kevonte Mitchell both reached base, and Ryan Ramiz singled home Smith to tie the contest up at one. Penprase followed with his hit to drive in two and give the Boulders a 3-1 lead.
Juan Silverio led off the top of the second with a single and came around to sxwcore on Avery Tuck’s RBI single that halved the Valley Cats’ deficit to one.
The Boulders got the run right back in the bottom half of the inning. Austin Dennis walked for the first of his four free passes on the night, stole second, and scored on Zach Kirtley’s two-out single.
Penprase continued his stellar play in the third after reaching on an error by shortstop Keaton Weisz. He swiped second, one of his three steals for the game, and scored on Phil Capra’s second hit of the season.
That was all for Valley Cats’ starter Carlos Canelon as he lasted just three innings. He allowed five runs, four of them earned, gave up five hits, walked four, and struck out three in a disappointing performance.
Brian Rapp toed the rubber for the Boulders and pitched admirably. In four innings, he gave up seven hits and one walk, but limited the damage to allow just two runs and struck out four.
In the top of the fifth, Luke Burton relieved Rapp. Former Cincinnati Red Denis Phipps doubled home Carson Maxwell to cut the Boulders’ lead to two. Silverio’s second hit brought the go-ahead run to the plate, but Burton was able to work his way out of the jam by striking out Francis Martinez.
The Boulders added two runs each in the seventh and eighth innings off Valley Cats’ knuckleballer Donnie Speranza. Speranza went five innings and walked a staggering eight batters, while hitting another. Milton Smith knocked in a run, with Capra and Ramiz each picking up their second RBI of the night.
Zach Schneider earned the win in relief with an excellent four-inning appearance. He only allowed two hits and one walk while striking out four Valley Cats.
The Boulders will travel to Augusta tomorrow as they open up a three-game series against the Sussex County Miners.