The New York Boulders rallied with a run in the ninth to tie the game and then won it with two more in the next inning as they downed the host Lake Erie Crushers, 3-2, in 10 innings on Wednesday at Mercy Health Stadium in Avon, OH.
Tied at 1-1 in the top of the 10th inning, the Boulders’ Gerson Molina, who started the frame on second base as per the International Tiebreaker rule, moved over to third on a groundout to second base by Steven Figueroa. Molina then scored when Lake Erie reliever Ean Walda tossed a wild pitch.
The Boulders added a much-needed insurance run against Walda when Jake MacKenzie walked and stole second before David Vinsky bounced out to third. Tucker Nathans was intentionally walked, but Gabriel Garcia made the strategy backfire when he bounced a single to center that scored MacKenzie with the run that made it 3-1.
Jarrod Watkins’ two-out RBI single in the bottom of the ninth cut the Crushers’ deficit to one run, but New York closer Leo Pineda got a game-ending fly ball to left field off the bat of Jared Mang.
The Crushers opened the scoring in the second inning on a chaotic sequence that began with New York starter Robby Rowland striking out Kokko Figueiredo with two outs and runners on first and second. The third strike was mishandled by Boulders’ catcher Al Reda, who made the throw to first base for the apparent third out of the frame, however, the toss was misplayed by first baseman Chris Kwitzer.
Meanwhile, Jarrod Watkins, who was the runner on second, noticed that no one was covering home plate. Watkins scooted home with the game’s first run.
New York tied it in the ninth. After being shutout the previous night and going scoreless for the first eight innings on this day, Nathans led off the top of the ninth with a solo home run to right-center off Crushers’ closer Sam Curtis.
The home run was Nathans’ fourth of the season.
The Boulders would put runners on first and second with one out after Nathans’ homer, but Curtis would escape unscathed by getting a fly out from Chris Kwitzer and a groundout by Gerson Molina.
Pineda, who pitched the ninth and 10th innings, got the win for New York, his first of the year against no losses.
Meanwhile, Walda took the loss in his first decision of the season.
Both starting pitchers were outstanding on this day. New York’s Robby Rowland went 7 1/3 innings and allowed an unearned run on five hits while walking five and striking out four. Meanwhile, Lake Erie’s Julio Vivas tossed seven shutout innings and allowed two hits while walking two and striking out seven.
Debuting in 1993, the Frontier League is the largest and longest-running of the modern independent leagues and features teams stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River and from the Ohio River to the St. Lawrence Seaway. In September of 2020, the Frontier League reached an agreement to become a “Partner League” with Major League Baseball.
As a “Partner League,” the Frontier League and its teams will meet on a regular basis with MLB representatives to discuss joint marketing and promotional opportunities, as well as collaborate on initiatives to provide organized baseball to communities throughout the United States and Canada.
More information can be found at www.frontierleague.com.