After blowing the lead in the late innings, the Watertown Wizards showed plenty of resiliency on Saturday night.
The Wizards surrendered the lead on a three-run home run in the eighth inning, but rallied to tie the score and prevailed when designated hitter Edgardo Salas scored on a wild pitch in the 10th to edge the Elmira Pioneers, 6-5 in a Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League game at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.
We always fight, Salas said. We always try to come back, we love playing tight games like that.
Both teams entered the day in a tie for seventh place in the league, both having been eliminated from the playoff race but each displayed plenty of determination, and the Wizards won for the first time in their last at bat at home.
Trailing by two runs, the Pioneers rallied to take the lead in the top of the eighth inning as after Zac Bellinger and Travis Rosenwinkel singled, Aaron Nardone belted a 2-2 pitch over the right field fence to stake the Pioneers to a 5-4 lead.
That was definitely a letdown, said center fielder Brandon Cipolla. But we battled back and got the win. We got some walks against some good pitching we had some good at-bats and made them pay.
Salas drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the frame off reliever Brice Smallwood, stole second base and scored on Cipollas infield single with two out to tie the game.
We got those three runs, then the bullpen comes in and walks the first guy, Elmira coach Dan Shwam said. That always spells bad things when you do that. In a situation like that, youve got to throw strikes and we walked the guy instead and he scored and this has been happening with us all year.
Salas walked again, this time to lead off the bottom of the 10th inning, advanced to second on Donald Walters single, reached third as Derek Hagy reached on a fielders choice and, with two out, scored on Matthew Gorehams errant pitch.
The guys put some good at-bats together, we put some pressure on the other team and we got the win, which is good, Watertown manager Nathan Kafka said. And finally were taking advantage of some of the mistakes the other team is making because a lot of times before we werent doing that.
Its always feels good to win at home, Salas said. Especially in a situation like that I was excited.
Jonathan Perez retired the side in ninth and 10th innings to earn the win, his first in nine relief appearances. He has yielded only one run in 13-plus innings this summer.
We got a good start from Ryan Dunn, he threw the ball very well today and gave us a chance to win, Kafka said of the starter, who pitched six strong innings before yielding the lead in the eighth. Thats all you can ask for, and then Jonathan Perez came in and did real well, and thats what hes been doing for us all season.
After Watertown led 1-0 in the first inning on Cole Gleasons RBI sacrifice fly, Elmira took the lead with a single run in the second and third innings on a run-scoring double from Ty Yesensky and Spencer Branns RBI groundout.
The Wizards tied the game at two in the fifth on Jordan Enoss RBI double, and seized a 4-2 advantage in the sixth on Salass run-scoring sacrifice fly and Hagys RBI single.
After a day off today, the Wizards play at Glens Falls on Monday and complete the home-and-home series in Watertown at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Its good to see the improvement because were doing things now that we werent doing earlier in the year, said Kafka, and thats in all areas of our game.
nNOTES: The Wizards wore pink uniform tops on the teams breast cancer awareness night as all proceeds from the game will go to help fight the disease. ... Watertown won the season series with Elmira at 6-2.