Gamel Provides Heroics in Thrilling Trenton Playoff Victory
Added by Matt Kardos on September 5, 2013.
The Thunder welcomed the Eastern Division Champion Binghamton Mets to Arm & Hammer Park last night to open game one of the Eastern League Division Series. The B-Mets had run roughshod over the Eastern League all season long, posting an 86-55 overall record, 11 games better than any other team in the EL.
Trenton has been a team that was propelled to the finish line as the Eastern Division Wild Card because of their resilience and poise down the stretch of a heated pennant race. Manager Tony Franklin and his bunch seemingly played in near must-win extra-inning games everyday in August. The grueling stretch of grind-it-out games has composed strong character for a team built on a foundation of mostly raw youth.
“I would like to say I was the architect of that but I would be totally lying,” Franklin said. “I can tell you this: this is kind of what we have done all year, kind of what we have talked about all year.Just keep playing, no matter what the circumstance is or where we are in the game. In April I was asked all the time what kind of team I had and I didn’t know. Now, I know.”
The Thunder were able to win a game that Binghamton threw their ace, Noah Syndergaard at them. Photo by: Matt Kardos
Binghamton summoned their ace and the number 12 ranked prospect in baseball by MLB.com in Noah Syndergaard to toe the rubber in the opener and he did not dissapoint. Syndergaard went six innings, allowing just three earned runs on seven hits while striking out eight.
The Thunder countered by throwing a promising young pitcher of their own in 22-year old hurler, Bryan Mitchell. After being promoted from Tampa just a few short weeks ago, Mitchell made three starts for Trenton and was coming off arguably the best start of his career when he struck out 10 over 7.1 against New Britan last week. Mitchell struggled with control early, issuing four walks. Mitchell eventually settled in as the game grew older, tightening the command of his curve ball which helped him recover nicely while keeping Trenton in line for a win.
Mitchell tossed five innings and allowed three earned runs. Syndergaard also exited after tossing 97 pitches over his six frames; he too allowed three. As I predicted since this series came to fruition, this game would come down to a battle of the bullpens and both units were lights out in this game.
Francisco Rondon and Danny Burawa combined to toss four scoreless innings for Trenton in relief of Mitchell. Pat Venditte pitched a clean 10th inning before surrending two runs in the 11th which looked like it set-up Binghamton to secure a opening game victory.
Record setting closer, Kevin Walters, was sent to the mound for Binghamton in the bottom of the 12th to slam the door on a 5-3 game 1 win for the B-Mets. The All-Star closer led the Eastern League in saves with 38 and set the Binghamton single season franchise record with that mark. Walters 38 saves were the second most in the illustrious history of the EL. So, scratching across a run against him was going to be tough, never mind two in hopes of tying it.
Walters retired the first two batters when he fanned leadoff hitter Mason Williams and got Ramon Flores on a tapper down to first base. Jose Pirela came to bat for Trenton and clubbed a double to the right field gap to give Trenton just a tiny glimmer of hope.
Gary Sanchez then came to bat for Trenton and quickly fell behind in the count 0-2. On a night where it looked as though the young catcher could be pressing in his first taste of advanced playoff action, Sanchez proceeded to orchestrate the best at-bat of his Double-A career when he worked back into the count and ultimately stroked a single to center that drove home Pirela and cut the B-Mets lead to 5-4.
Tyler Austin scores last night against Binghamton: Photo by: NJ.com
With the slow-footed Sanchez on first representing the tying run, Manager Tony Franklin removed him for a pinch-runner in Francisco Arcia. Tyler Austin followed and like Sanchez, quickly fell behind in the count to Walter at 0-2. After fouling off a few pitches, Austin grounded back up the middle for an infield hit and suddenly, the Thunder had the tying run in scoring position and the winning run on first base.
Three consecutive two-out hits brought Casey Stevenson to the plate for Trenton, who was stepping up for his first at-bat of the night after pinch running for Kyle Roller earlier in the game. Walters had surrendered just two home runs all season long, one of them was to Roller, so the pinch running scenario looked like it was going to come back to haunt Trenton, or so it seemed.
Stevenson stepped in and stroked a single to left field just above the glove of a leaping Josh Rodriguez to plate Arcia and tie the game at 5-5.
One batter later, Gamel deposited the first pitch he saw into right field and just like that, the Thunder were walking off 6-5 winners in game 1 of the ELDS after rallying with five consecutive two-out hits off of the best closer in the league.
“I was really just looking for something up, something that I could handle,” Gamel said after the game. “I put a good swing on it.”
Austin, who boldy stated prior to the game that Syndergaard would be in for a long night, stroked two doubles off the Mets ace. Austin said that the momentum behind this win is huge in a short series cannot be overstated.
“That’s definitely big coming in here and getting the first game, especially at home and knowing that we potentially have to play three games at their place,” said Austin. “It’s always big to come here and get Game 1 at home.”
Austin added, “We just believe in one another. We believe in each guy that steps into the box and each guy that we send out to the mound, and that’s what we take out there.”
The Thunder will look to take a commanding 2-0 lead tonight when they play Binghamton in game 2 of the best-of-five series. ELDS Darin Gorski of the B-Mets (6-1, 1.83) will take on Mikey O’Brien 7-8, 4.12) for Trenton.