The Conquistadors (7-9) and Lightning (6-8-1) both entered action on Tuesday with losing records; however they both had a shot to take over sole possession of third place in the IMG Wood Bat League with a win today. With the second place Manatees on a losing streak, other league teams now seem in reaching distance of the coveted second seed for the playoffs. In particular the Conquistadors and Lightning both could see themselves in the second spot come playoff time with a strong finish to the season.
Starting pitching dominated the game early on. Chris Delorenz kept the Conquistadors off the board in the first three frames while keeping opposing hitters' off-balance. Conner Andrews started the game for the Conquistadors and looked overpowering; striking out four in the first three innings. However he did have one blemish in the first inning as Bryant Moore doubled in Jake Holt to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead.
The pace changed in the top of the fourth as the Conquistadors tied the game. Sean McKenna laced his second single of the day to start the rally. McKenna stole third after he advanced to second on a fielders' choice. McKenna would later score on an error. Delorenz kept his composure and got another ground ball to end the inning. The Lightning struck back in the bottom of the inning to regain the lead. Jake Holt singled and was driven in by Josh Cooper, who unselfishly hit a ground ball with a runner on third and less than two outs.
The lead did not last long as the Conquistadors scored a run again in the fifth. Kyle Maer singled and stole a base. Peter Manny followed with a single of his own that scored Maer. After five innings the score was knotted at two.
The Conquistadors were silent in the top of the sixth as Matt Smith came in to relieve Chris Delorenz. The Lightning regained the lead once again in the bottom of the sixth as Alejo Lopez hit a leadoff double. After he stole a base, Lopez scored on a fielders' choice off the bat of Jake Holt; which made the score 3-2.
Conner Andrews completed a solid six innings with six strikeouts and only allowing three runs. He kept the Conquistadors in the game and in the top of the seventh the Conquistadors took their first lead. Austin Platt led the charge with a single. Tony Rivera followed with a double that scored Platt. Spencer Sherril singled in Rivera, which broke the tie and made the score 4-3.
The Lightning went down quietly and the Conquistadors added to their lead in the eighth with another pair of runs. Barrett Snyder led off with a single and scored on a Ryan Cabreja single. Eddie Herbst later scored on a wild pitch. Herbst had also been doing a spectacular job on the mound retiring the first six hitters he faced; in relief ofConner Andrews. With a 3 run lead and Herbst headed back to the mound, the Lightning looked to be totally out of the game.
However the Lightning were far from finished. Alejo Lopez and Marshall Hayden walked to begin the ninth and after an RBI single from Josh Cooper the Lightning were back in the game. Hayden crossed the plate on a wild pitch to make the score 6-5 and with Josh Cooper on third base the tying run was only 90 feet away from home plate. Eddie Herbst, however, regained composure on the mound and picked off a runner attempting to steal second to finish the game with the tying run stranded at third.
The Conquistadors pulled to 8-9 with the win and further isolated themselves in third place by pushing the Lightning to 6-9-1. Conner Andrews picked up the win for the Conquistadors and Eddie Herbst recorded the save.
In other action around the league:
Seadogs 2 2 0
Manatees 12 13 0
WP- Bex Trout 6IP 2H 11Ks
Top Performer- Giovanny Cordero went 3 for 3 with 2R, 2B, 2RBIs, BB
Conquistadors 6 14 0
Lightning 5 4 0
WP- Conner Andrews 6IP, 3H, BB, 6Ks
Top Performer- Ryan Cabreja went 3 for 4 with 3H, 2B, 2RBIs
Hurricanes 7 8 4
Marauders 9 6 0
WP- Alan Nahigian- 3IP, H, K
Top Performer- Seton Sheldon went 1 for 2 with 2RBI's, BB
League Standings: (through July 2oth)
TEAM W L T GB
Marauders 14 20 0
Manatees 9 6 0 4.5
Conquistadors 8 9 0 6.5
Lightning 6 9 1 7.5
Hurricanes 6 11 0 9.5
Seadogs 4 10 1 10