Sever’s clutch stroke sends Scrappers soaring to victory
August 30, 2012
For Joe Sever, it was about more than just getting a big hit in the eighth inning with his team down a run. It was about pride. Just one batter earlier, the Scrappers best hitter Joey Wendle was intentionally walked with first base open to load the bases for Sever. That made it personal.
“When [Wendle] went up there I kind of had the sense that they were going to intentionally walk him,” said Sever of the situation. “When that happens it motivates you so much more, and it helps you zone in that much more. It always is personal, and it’s kind of a slap in the face. But I wanted the opportunity, so I’m glad it happened.”
But making it personal is only one-half of the equation. You still have to come up big. Joe came up big. Really big.
“He threw me two sliders low, so I knew he was having trouble locating,” commented Sever of his nemesis Silvio Medina. “I knew he was going to come fastball, especially down 2-1. The pitch that I swung through was a two-seam, so I was sitting two-seam middle in. Luckily he left that one up and over theplate and I put good wood on it.”
It was certainly good, if not great, especially for a Scrapper offense that has had sparse late inning chances recently. But Sever made sure to come through with this one, drilling the 2-1 fastball deep into the gap in right field that cleared the bases and landed him on third. The three runs were just what the doctor ordered, as it put the Scrappers on top 8-6. For Sever, it might have been his biggest hit at Eastwood Field all year.
“Definitely that or the homerun against Brooklyn in the eighth,” he said. “It felt good to finally hit a ball hard. I’ve been struggling lately.”
But before he had his chance, it looked like it might be the same old doom and gloom. A four run first for Batavia that was aided by three errors meant that the Scrappers would have to fight from behind. Starter Ryan Merritt was the victim of two of the errors, and the wrongdoer of the third. He was still charged with three of the four runs, however.
The Scrappers were able to start a comeback right away, scoring a run in the first when Logan Vick doubled to plate Wendle.
Then in the fourth, the offense clawed back further with three more runs to tie the game at four. Mitch Nilsson and Richard Stock both reached to start the inning, Nilsson via a ground-rule double, and Stock with a walk. Then came Jorge Martinez, who promptly emptied the bags with a towering three run shot that cleared the indoor-batting cage in right.
But another pair of Doubleday runs in the seventh and eighth put the Scrappers in an all too familiar late-inning hole.
“We’ve been down late in games,” said Sever. “Tonight, it was nice to be close and in striking distance, and it’s nice to put a team out of playoff contention, which we’re looking to do to Auburn and we didn’t do to Batavia. So I think it’s a big win for us to keep us in the last few games we’ve got here.”
Speaking of playoffs, the Scrappers do have a chance to play spoiler. After Jack Wagoner closed out the win tonight, Auburn put themselves at risk of falling to just a game ahead of the Batavia Muckdogs for the lead in the NYPL’s Pickney Division. Batavia emerged 10-2 winners on Thursday over Williamsport, meaning that the Doubledays did indeed slice their lead to only a game.
Picking up the win in the contest was reliever Rafael Homblert. Jack Wagoner earned the save. Now with only two home games remaining, the Scrappers have a chance to devastate the Doubledays with a pair of late-season spoiler wins, with their first chance coming Friday night at7:05.
Matt can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or followed on Twitter @MMillerBaseball.