Every time the Trenton Thunder took a lead in extra innings, the Portland Sea Dogs found a way to come back.
Even when Portland used an outfielder on the mound for the 15th, giving up a run, the Sea Dogs managed to rally for the win.
Henry Ramos singled in two runs with two outs in the bottom of the inning to give Portland a 9-8 win on a cold, damp Saturday at Hadlock Field.
Peter Hissey, who began the game in left field, was the winning pitcher after allowing a run on two hits and a wild pitch in the top of the 15th.
Trenton took two leads in extra innings, only to have Portland tie it with home runs – by Blake Swihart in the 10th and Mookie Betts in the 14th.
In the 14th, Manager Billy McMillon approached Hissey.
“Billy asked if I could pitch, and I said I’ve pitched before,” said Hissey. “He said, ‘I may need you.’ ”
What Hissey may not have mentioned is his last pitching was five years ago in high school.
“I haven’t seen a mound since,” Hissey said.
Hissey, a left-hander, threw only fastballs, reaching 80 mph. He actually called out Swihart, his catcher.
“Since I wasn’t throwing very hard, I wanted to know if I could still pitch inside,” Hissey said. “I also wanted to slow down some. I was excited out there.”
After two singles around a sacrifice, Trenton had runners on first and third. Hissey got the second out on a shallow line drive to right, but a wild pitch scored a run before Hissey got a flyout to end the inning.
Travis Shaw of Portland led off the bottom of the 15th with a single against Charlie Short (0-2). It was Shaw’s second hit, following his home run in the first inning.
Swihart also had a fine day, going 4 for 7 with two doubles and a home run. He got a change-up and doubled off the left-field wall, sending Shaw to third.
With two outs, Ramos came up. A 22-year-old out of Puerto Rico, Ramos got off to a slow start but is now batting .288 with seven hits in his past two games.
“He’s getting more confident and he’s getting acclimated to the cold,” McMillon said.
Ramos stroked a low line drive to left for a single. Shaw came across, and Swihart raced home behind him, bringing his teammates out to celebrate.
The game, which was delayed 27 minutes because of rain, lasted 4 hours, 19 minutes.
McMillon said a minor league team uses an everyday player to pitch “once every season or so. You can’t prepare your bullpen for a 15-inning game.”
One boost came from reliever Nate Reed, who gave the Sea Dogs four innings, allowing one run. Reed entered with a 12.79 ERA from four previous outings.
“I just stuck with my game plan, kept my pitches down,” Reed said. “I thought I had been throwing the ball well (before); I just wasn’t getting breaks.”
Mike Augliera started for Portland and didn’t get defensive support in his five innings. He gave up five runs, but two errors accounted for three of them.
Robby Scott relieved and kept his ERA at 0.00 with three shutout innings. Miguel Celestino (two innings, one run) followed. Then Reed pitched and finally the surprise left-hander, Hissey.
NOTES: The announced paid attendance was 4,924. … Heiker Meneses, added to the Sea Dogs’ roster from Triple-A Pawtucket, went 2 for 7. … To make room, catcher Michael Brenly was placed on the disabled list.
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at: