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Baby Bombers 2013 Playoff Blog: Walk-off heroics make Trenton a Game 1 winner

09/05/2013 12:23 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Tyler Austin helped the Thunder take Game 1 on Wednesday night.(AP)
It took 10 innings, but the Trenton Thunder took a 1-0 lead in their Eastern League semifinal series with the Binghamton Mets on Wednesday night courtesy of some walk-off heroics from one of their newest players.

Outfielder Ben Gamel singled home the winning run off B-Mets All-Star closer Jeff Walters, capping a two-out 10th inning rally that saw the Thunder turn a 5-3 deficit into a 6-5 victory and seize Game 1 of the best-of-five series.

With the game tied at 3-all through regulation, Binghamton struck for two runs in the 10th off switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, setting the stage for Walters - who led the EL with 38 saves this season - to close out the victory.

Unfortunately, he only got two-thirds of the way there, striking out Mason Williams and getting Ramon Flores to ground out before the Thunder dug deep and rallied.

Jose Pirela started the rally with a double, and after a Gary Sanchez single drove him in to make it 5-4, Tyler Austin singled to put runners on first and second. Casey Stevenson singled in pinch-runner Francisco Arcia to tie the game, and Gamel followed with a smack to right that scored Austin from second and gave Trenton a crazy walk-off win.

"We've got heart. This team has heart and we came out here to play and we gave it everything we had from opening pitch until the last," Austin told Double-G Sports' Matt Kardos after the win.

It was a wild ending to a game that started with the excitement of recent Tampa call-up Bryan Mitchell (5 IP, 3 R (2 ER), 7 H, 4 BB, 4 K) battling Mets uber-prospect Noah Syndergaard (6 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 8 K), and it delivered on both ends.

Offensively for Trenton, Pirela and Austin led the way by both going 3-for-5, with both scoring two runs and Austin driving in a pair. Gamel was 2-for-5 with two RBI including the game winners in both columns, Sanchez finished 1-for-5 but made his lone hit count, and Stevenson was 1-for-1 after pinch-running for Kyle Roller and replacing him at first base in the ninth.

On the mound, Francisco Rondon (2 IP, 1 H, 5 K) and Danny Burawa (1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K) followed Mitchell with 3 1/3 scoreless innings, and Venditte had an easy finish to the ninth before finding trouble in the 10th.

Now with a 1-0 series lead, the Thunder will send RHP Mikey O'Brien (7-8, 4.12) to the mound for Game 2 Thursday night against B-Mets southpaw Darin Gorski (6-1, 1.83). That will be the second and final home game of this round for the Thunder, as the series shifts to Binghamton for Games 3, 4, and 5 this weekend, so it's up to O'Brien to send the home fans home happy (for now).

Two other quick Baby Bombers (and past Baby Bombers) notes:

-Staten Island finished their season Wednesday night, taking a 5-2 decision over Vermont in a game that was shortened to five innings due to rain. The SI Yanks finish the season 34-41.

-On Tuesday, RHP Corey Black, who was traded by the Yankees to the Cubs in the Alfonso Soriano deal, pitched five scoreless innings in the Daytona Cubs' win over Dunedin in Game 1 of their Florida State League semifinal series; Daytona won again Wednesday night to sweep the Best-of-3 set, and they will move on to face the Charlotte Stone Crabs (Rays affiliate) in the Best-of-5 FSL Championship Series starting Friday, with Black will on turn to start either Game 3 or Game 4.

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