Blowfish drop final road game of the season to RedWolves 5-4 on game winning walk off homer by Flore
Lexington County, Florence tied twice in down to the wire affair
Florence, SC (James Bowers) - The Lexington County Blowfish still had some fight in them despite the dissappointing results of the 2018 season; however, it wasn’t quite enough to get them past a feisty Florence RedWolf team at Sparrow Stadium Friday evening. The “Fish” came up on the shortside of a 5-4 contest, dropping their record to 17-31 ahead of their final game against Macon tonight.
The game was close, with the two teams tying twice over the nine innings, and Florence not scoring the final run until the bottom of the ninth. While there are no moral victories, the “Fish” can certainly hold their heads a little higher when the game is compared to more crushing defeats such as the infamous 18-1 drubbing by the Savannah Bananas on July 16.
The homestanding RedWolves got out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Ben Peden’s homer scored both himself and Joe Simone. The Blowfish didn’t even need a hit to join Florence on the board in the top of the second, as a combination of wild pitches, walks, and a hit by a pitch set up a Trace Whetsell run to cut the Florence lead to 1.
After the RedWolves made it 3-1 in the third when Joe Simone got home on a Ben Peden sacrifice fly, the Blowfish again scored without a hit as Florence pitcher Colby Lee again served up a bevy of walks and wild pitches that resulted in loaded bases and the benching of Lee in favor of Will Abbott. Though he was able to strike his first batter out, a walk of Chris Clary allowed C.J. Smith to score to make it a 3-2 game. The fifth was dry for both teams and followed by a sixth in which the Blowfish picked up their first hits on singles by Chris Clary and Jared Williams. Williams’ failed attempt to steal second gave Clary time to score, tying things at three.
The two clubs did little of note in the seventh inning. The Blowfish took the lead in the top of the 8th when Trace Whetsells scored on a throwing error. However, a throwing error of Lexington County’s own set up a score by Bryson Smith in the bottom of the eighth, tying the game again at 4-4.
The Blowfish were not able to produce in the top of the ninth. The club was nervous heading into the Florence side of the inning, dreading the possibility of a 30th loss. That fear was realized when Griffin Hulecki hit a walk-off home run, giving Florence the 5-4 win.
Jacob Rye pitched the first three innings for the “Fish,” allowing five hits and three runs against a single strikeout and two walks. Jon Scott succeeded him, allowing one hit and striking out five RedWolf batters while walking two in his trio of innings. Cam Tringali saw two hits and picked up a single strikeout in his one inning on the mound, while Andrew Tilghman struck out two and had both a hit and a run. Colton Rendon was sent in for the ninth and had the misfortune of having the game winning homer scored on his watch.
Jared Williams had three hits to lead the Blowfish offense. Chandler Jenkins, Tyler Hasleman, and Chris Clary each had a hit of their own for Lexington County.
Though Colby Lee allowed only one hit in three innings for Florence, several wild pitches marred his night. Will Abbott pitched five innings, seeing five hits while striking out ten and walking three. Closer Jacob Grenus had two strikeouts in the ninth inning.
The Florence RedWolves were led offensively by Joe Simone, who had three hits. Griffin Hulecki had two, including his game winning homer in the bottom of the ninth. Ben Peden, Greg Vaughn, Jr, and Chris Botsoe all had hits for the RedWolves.
The Florence RedWolves will go on the road for their season finale against Savannah. The Blowfish played the Macon Bacon Saturday at the Lexington County Baseball Stadium. While the Blowfish season ended with that game, the RedWolves will be rooting for the Fish. Macon and Florence are tied for second place in the Coastal Plain League’s South division. A RedWolf win, coupled with an upset of the Bacon by Lexington County, would clinch second place for Macon and by association win them a bid to the Coastal Plain League’s Pettit Cup Playoffs. The piayoffs are set to get underway on Sunday, August 5. Visit https://www.coastalplain.com for updates on the playoff picture.