DEWDs drop dramatic doubleheader
History may show the Down East Wood Ducks lost both ends of a doubleheader Sunday against the Frederick Keys – but history will never be able to capture the drama, excitement and intrigue the games generated.
The Keys (16-22 second half, 51-56 overall) won the first game of the doubleheader 3-2 after scoring three runs in the top of the final inning and the second game in 12 innings, 9-8. While the first game was filled with excitement – especially the final inning in which the Keys scored all their runs and the Woodies (11-27, 46-62) almost rallied to win – the second game was even wilder.
Carolina League rules dictate doubleheaders only last seven innings, but the teams found themselves tied 3-3 at the end of seven frames in the second game. A new change to Minor League Baseball rules this season also means a “place” runner – the final batter in the previous inning for each team – starts the extra inning at second base.
Both teams scored one run each in the eighth inning, went scoreless in the ninth and 10th frames and scored two runs apiece in the 11th.
After Frederick scored three in the top of the 12th against position player-turned-pitcher Josh Altmann (who started the game in right field before playing first base and then pitching the final inning) it appeared the game would be over for the home team.
But no. The Woodies scored two runs in the bottom of the 12th and had runners on first and second with two outs and Brendon Davis at the plate. Davis took a Francisco Jimenez pitch to deep right-centerfield, where it appeared Keys outfielder Jake Ring ran to a spot and was watching the ball go over the wall.
But no. Ring casually caught the ball “basket-style” – and the game and doubleheader ended 385 feet from home plate.
Altmann took the loss to fall to 0-1 on the season with one inning of work. He was the sixth Wood Ducks pitcher to work the second game, following two in the first game of the doubleheader.
The teams pounded out 12 hits each in the second game; Chuck Leblanc had three hits and two RBIs, while Leody Taveras and Altmann had two hits each. Altmann had three RBIs, including a two-run home run in the sixth inning that tied the game at 3-3. Yanio Perez and Davis had the other RBIs for the Woodies in the second game.
Jomar Reyes had three hits and two RBIs for Frederick in the second game, while T.J. Nichting, Chris Clare and Daniel Fajardo had two hits apiece for the Keys. Fajardo added three RBIs; Nichting and Preston Palmeiro had an RBI each. Jimenez (1-2) earned the victory for Frederick with four innings of work in relief.
The first game between the teams was a bona fide pitchers’ duel until the sixth inning, when Altmann hit an RBI single to give the Woodies a 1-0 lead. However, Collin Woody’s two-out, pinch-hit single tied the game in the top of the seventh and Cole Billingsley’s RBI double proved to be detrimental to the Woodies.
Despite the victory, Frederick only generated four hits in the first game. The Woodies had seven, led by Perez with two. Steven Klimek only pitched a third of an inning for the Keys, but it was enough to earn him the victory to improve his record to 3-2. Tyler Erwin came on in the seventh and earned his 14th save of the season despite giving up two hits and an earned run.
Rollie Lacy went five strong innings for the Woodies in the first game, striking out seven, walking three and only giving up two hits with no runs allowed. Sal Mendez took the loss to fall to 1-1 by giving up three runs (two earned) in two innings of work while striking out three.
The losses were the fourth and fifth in a row for the Woodies; they’ve now lost 16 of their past 18 games overall. The first pitch Sunday was at 1 p.m.; the final pitch of the game was thrown at 7:38. The game was played in front of 1,294 fans.
The Wood Ducks have Monday off before a three-game series in Myrtle Beach starts Tuesday. They return home on Friday with a three-game set against Winston-Salem and a three-game series vs. Buies Creek. The Dash and Astros sit atop the Carolina League Southern Division standings.
Friday’s game will feature fireworks after the game and food trucks during it. For ticket information, call the Wood Ducks office at 252-686-5170 or visit the team’s site at woodducksbaseball.com.