By Gary R. Rasberry
The scene looked to be a sequel from last Friday's game between Grand Lake and Delaware at Jim Hoess Field.
The Mariners rally from the deficit late in the game by scoring two runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a 6-5 lead.
Unfortunately, Delaware saw the scene before and got a rewrite.
The Cows scored twice in the top of the ninth and held off the last-gasp Mariners comeback in the bottom of the inning to get a 7-6 win in Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League action.
The loss is the second straight for the Mariners and evens the league mark at 8-8 going into the off day today. The Cows remain among the league leaders at 9-4. "We played a great game tonight," said Mariners skipper Mike Stafford. "Our hitters came back and battled to give us an opportunity to win the game. Fell a little short pitching-wise."
Things seemed to be going right from the seventh inning on for the Mariners after trailing 4-0 for the first six trips to the plate. Grand Lake came up with two runs in the seventh to cut its deficit to two runs. Delaware picked up another run in the eighth before Adam Johnson came on and struck out Tony Lewis and catcher Josh Stewart threw out Aaron Hauser trying to steal third for the third out.
While the Mariners were looking to score, the bullpen came up strong. Greg Becker came in with two outs in the sixth and threw 12/3 innings of no-hit baseball, allowing just an unearned run.
Grand Lake began the eighth when Kris Moorman reached on a walk prompting the Cows to replace Jimmy Rose on the mound with Tim Gray. Aaron Bulkley, pinch-hitting for Jeff Warnock, doubled to right-center and an error by centerfielder Keanon Simon allowed Moorman to dash all the way from first to home to cut it to 5-3.
Mike Bertram then lined a shot that was misplayed by the second baseman to put runners on first and third. Stewart then singled home Bulkley to get the Mariners to within one with still no outs in the inning.
Seth Kuwik was quickly called on to get out of the jam and appeared to be on his way to getting his team out of the inning when Jon Hatfield grounded to short and Billy Grace hit the ball hard to third but Brandon Godzik made a great play to keep Bertram at third and throw Grace out.
Scott Billak, already 2-for-4 in the game, took the first pitch for a strike then followed up with a single up the middle, allowing Bertram and Stewart to score easily giving the Mariners the lead.
"Scotty came up with the big hit," said Stafford. "Our guys battled. Everybody went up there looking to hit. They battled with two strikes on them. It looked like a different ballclub from the seventh inning on."
In the ninth, Stafford called on Jeff Loveys to close things out. The 6-8 Ontario native looked to be ready by striking out Brian Witt for the first out. After walking Kyle Sherman, Loveys struck out Simon for out number two before walking Bobby Getty to put runners on first and second. Stafford called on Jeremy Krol to get the final out but Kurt Eichorn stepped up, took strike one and put the second pitch deep to left center, scoring Sherman and Getty to put the Cows back up 7-6.
"We had the right guy in there," said Stafford. "I thought we made all the right moves to give us the chance to win. We just gave them too many opportunities, didn't throw strikes and didn't make (Delaware) earn it."
Billak ended the night 3-for-4 with three runs batted in while Moorman added a 2-for-4 night and Bertram was 2-for-5.
Parkway graduate Galen Schumm, who will attend Dayton this fall, came on to pinch-hit in the seventh, popping out to short.
Grand Lake will look to end its two-game losing skid on Friday when rival Lima comes to Hoess Field for a 7:15 p.m. game