T-Bones Triumph in 5-4 Thriller

07/06/2003 4:02 PM - Sunday night’s game between the Kansas City T-Bones and the St. Paul Saints turned out to be two games in one. The first occurred in the first through eighth innings and the second took place solely within the ninth. Luckily for the T-Bones, they came out ahead on both counts as they defeated the Saints 5-4 in a wild evening at CommunityAmerica ballpark.

Eddie Pearson’s fourth home run of the season with two outs in the seventh inning seemed to give Kansas City the lead they needed to win the game. Starter Erik Grunwald got out of a jam in the top of the eighth thanks to a running catch by right fielder Chris LePine that saved a would-be tying run. Grunwald then came out for the ninth, looking for his first complete game of the season. The second game would begin.

On his 127th pitch of the game, St. Paul first baseman Dave Callahan sent his fourth home run of the season over the right field wall to tie the game at three. An error by third baseman Taber Maier and then a walk chased Grunwald from the game after 134 total pitches.

Tom Masterman (2-1) came in to try and get the T-Bones out of the inning with only one run allowed. He started off well, getting Ryan Kane to ground into a double play. However, Taber Maier would commit his second error of the inning on a grounder by former T-Bone Jeff Brooks that allowed pinch-runner Leland Swenson to score the go-ahead run.

The Saints brought out stopper Chris Chavez to close out the game. Chavez entered having converted all of his league-leading thirteen save opportunities. Sean Murphy started the bottom half of the inning with a single to left field. He would advance to second on a sacrifice by Chris LePine.

That’s when Bao Vinh stepped to the plate. He lined a pitch into left field for a potential game-tying hit. Manager Al Gallagher waved Murphy home only to see him get thrown out at the plate by leftfielder Aaron Fera. That seemed to be all the magic the T-Bones had.

However, Vinh would advance to third on a balk by Chavez (1-2) with Taber Maier at the plate. In a bit of irony, Maier would reach base on an error by shortstop Jeff Brooks that scored Vinh with the tying run. Maier made the error on Brooks’ groundball that put the Saints ahead in the top of the inning.

After a stolen base and an intentional walk to Eddie Pearson, Rick Prieto walked up to the batter’s box. The T-Bones’ leading hitter hit a line drive that sailed just passed the outstretched glove of Brooks. Maier would round third and touch home with the game-winning run.

The win not only gave the T-Bones the series victory, but it also put them in second place of the Northern League’s Western Division. At 19-22, they sit a half a game ahead of the Lincoln Saltdogs. The loss was only the Saints’ (29-13) second series loss of the year. The T-Bones now travel to Sioux Falls where they take on the Canaries in a four game set before returning next weekend to Kansas City where they will face the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks.