Zach Kirtley laced a two-run single as part of a four-run outburst in the fifth inning to help the New York Boulders defeat the Washington Wild Things, 4-3. The victory in front of an energized crowd at Palisades Credit Union Park on Sunday night propelled the Boulders into sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division.
The bats started out slowly for both sides. Washington managed to load the bases in the top of the second, but Boulders’ starter Orsen Josephina struck out Brian Sharp to end the threat. Gian Martellini played stellar defense behind the plate, gunning down two would-be base stealers with his strong arm in the first and fourth innings.
The Boulders revved their offense into gear in the bottom of the fifth. Martellini led off with a walk, Zach Penprase knocked a single through the hole into left, and Milton Smith Jr. reached on a bunt single to load the bases. Jack Sundberg stepped up to the plate and hit a grounder back to the pitcher, but Keven Pimentel airmailed the throw home to the catcher, bringing home the first run of the game. Kirtley kept the rally going with his base hit to drive in two, and Ray Hernandez added the fourth run of the inning on a sacrifice fly to center.
Josephina was able to work himself into and out of trouble throughout the contest. He didn’t give up a run and only allowed a single hit in his 5.2 innings of work. While he did walk six batters and hit another, his five strikeouts went a long way in helping keep the Wild Things off the board and earned him the win. For Washington, Pimentel went five innings and surrendered four runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks before departing due to injury.
Andrew Czech broke up the shutout in the seventh inning on a mammoth home run to right field and Bralin Jackson cut the deficit to one on a two-run shot to left. With the Wild Things poised to even up the score, Dylan Smith made his Boulders debut a memorable one as he got two important outs to maintain the narrow lead.
Closer Tanner Kiest came on for the ninth and showcased his electric velocity. Washington put the tying and go-ahead runners in scoring position with two outs, but Kiest relied on his upper-90s fastball to get Andrew Sohn to strike out swinging and seal his fourth save of the season.
With their new spot atop the division, the Boulders will look to extend their lead and their three-game winning streak as they start a six-game road trip against the Tri-City ValleyCats on Tuesday.