Mar 6, 2008

Ducksnorts Outlast Ross, Ponies 5-4

PITTSBURGH -- Matt Ross and Alfredo Nieves pitched one for the ages, as the Cheyenne Ducksnorts outlasted the Pittsburgh Ponies 5-4 in 14 innings.

The pitchers hurled dueling, four-hit shutouts through eight innings, until Pascual Tarraga faced the Ponies to start the ninth.

Tarraga matched the Pittsburgh ace goose egg for goose egg until he handed the ball to Eddie Buckley in the 10th, and Javy Andujar finally relieved Ross to start the 11th inning.

Buckley tossed three shutout innings until yielding to Jesse Mitchell in the 13th, and he promptly retired the Ponies' third and fourth batters and catcher Jose Mieses nabbed Matty Hernandez stealing second to end the inning.

Cheyenne 1B Arthur Grace crushed a solo homer to start the 14th, and Andujar gave up a Mieses single and a two-run Tim Broome homer before getting the collar.

Kordell Blair entered the game, forced a Blade Becker ground out, walked Aramis Santiago and Sean Jordan, and struck out Julio Sanchez before the floodgates opened.

Henry Sutton blooped an RBI single, scoring Santiago, and a Julius Ramsey throwing error allowed Harvey Sutton to arrive safely at first and drive in Jordan, the former Ponies backup.

Grace, who opened the scoring and the inning, flied out to right field.

The Ponies did not go quietly, as Bob Laker walked and pinch-hitter Ewell Ausmus dropped a ground-rule double into right-centerfield.

The crowd, now on its feet, groaned as Alejandro Johnson struck out, and Sammy Vicente entered the game and promptly walked Daryl Sears to load the bases.

Juan Benitez flied out weakly to left-centerfield, but leadoff man Mark Russell swung from his heels and knocked a mammoth grand slam into the right-centerfield bleachers.

The Pittsburgh crowd, grown so accustomed to wins, sensed that they were on the verge of witnessing perhaps the greatest Ponies comeback in history as the team's best hitter, Juan Tejada, strode to the plate.

However, the blow of defeat was more crushing than the hit he mustered, as the slugging 1B grounded meekly to second base to snuff out a summertime classic.

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