July 1, 2012

Sea Dogs 4, Thunder 3: One entertaining comeback

The Sea Dogs tie the game on a double-slide into the plate, then win it on a homer in the ninth.

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — It looked like a scene from a baseball movie.

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Derrik Gibson, the shortstop for the Portland Sea Dogs, slaps a tag on Trenton’s Jose Gil, who was attempting to steal second base Saturday night. Gil was called safe on the play.

Photos by John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Derrik Gibson of the Portland Sea Dogs follows a grounder into his glove in the seventh inning. Portland and Trenton play two games today.

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TODAY’S DOUBLEHEADER

WHO: Trenton Thunder (Vidal Nuno 3-1 and Ryan Pope 3-5) at Sea Dogs (Drake Britton 1-2 and Jeremy Kehrt 2-1)

WHEN: 1 p.m.

WHERE: Hadlock Field

TICKETS: About 2,300 available

RADIO: WPEI 95.9-FM, 95.5-FM

With the bases loaded, Jeremy Hazelbaker drove a ball to deep left-center field. Ryan Dent tagged up at second while Jackie Bradley Jr. was running from first base.

The ball dropped in and Dent took off, with Bradley on his heels all the way. Both slid into home at the virtually same time, Bradley’s cleats nearly touching Dent.

Both were safe as Hazelbaker’s three-run double tied the Portland Sea Dogs with the Trenton Thunder 3-3 in the eighth inning.

Portland first baseman Drew Hedman completed the Hollywood script with a walk-off home run to lead off the ninth inning for a 4-3 win Saturday night before a sold-out Hadlock Field crowd of 7,368.

“A two-for-one special,” Manager Kevin Boles said of the Dent-Bradley sprint.
Josh Fields (2-3) retired five batters for the win.

Thunder starter Dellin Betances held the Sea Dogs to three hits in six shut-out innings.

Betances was sent down last week from Triple-A after a 6.39 ERA and 79 walks in 74 innings.

He looked fine Saturday, as did reliever Craig Heyer in the seventh.

Hedman, promoted from Salem to fill in for the injured Reynaldo Rodriguez, led off the eighth against  reliever Francisco Rondon, reaching on a bloop single to right. Dent followed with a single and Bradley walked.

Hazelbaker crushed a fastball that Trenton center fielder Melky Mesa chased. Dent tagged at second.

“If Melky was going to catch it, I wanted to make sure I got to third,” Dent said. The ball dropped in “and I felt a little push. Jackie was right on me. And it was the scene from 'Rookie of the Year.’ ”

Other players claimed it more resembled the “Major League” movie.

“It was fun,” Dent said. Bradley agreed.

“Once the ball fell, I gave (Dent) a little nudge to help get him started,” Bradley said. “After that it was to the stables we go.”

But that only tied the game. Trenton brought in its fifth pitcher, Lee Hyde, for the ninth. Hyde threw a 2-0 fastball to Hedman, who sent a towering fly ball over the right-field wall.

“Just looking for something over the plate and I got it,” said Hedman, who was mobbed at home plate. “Definitely feels great.”

Sea Dogs starter Chris Hernandez allowed two runs on six hits and two walks, striking out three.

He gave up a Addison Maruszak solo home run in the first inning and one hit per inning after.

In the sixth, Hernandez allowed a leadoff Mesa double and exited. Reliever Chorye Spoone gave up a two-out RBI single to right. Trenton made it 3-0 in the eighth.

Then came the rally – a couple of big blasts and some entertaining base-running.

NOTES: Fields has gone five straight outings (nine innings) without allowing an earned run. … Today will feature a doubleheader of two seven-inning games starting at 1 p.m. The second game is a makeup of the May 1 rained-out game.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: ClearTheBases

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