Somerset Patriots rally for extra innings win on Opening Day
In his sixth season as manager of the Somerset Patriots and 15thoverall with the franchise, manager Brett Jodie said, “Opening Day” at TD Bank Ballpark is always special and the organization does things the right way.
“The guys have gone through spring training and excited to see the fans in the stands and see that buzz,” explained Jodie. “It doesn’t matter how old you are and long you have been around the game you still get excited about Opening Day. A carnival type of atmosphere, something you look forward to and a lot of energy in the stadium and stands.”
On a cool Friday night with an announced crowd of 6,106, Jodie did not anticipate the game lasting three hours and twenty-five minutes and 11 innings against the Road Warriors.
Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth after the Road Warriors had scored two runs off a throwing error by Patriots relief pitcher Dustin Antolin, Somerset was down to their last out but had runners on the corners.
Second baseman Scott Kelly hit a slow dribbler to shortstop Oslvaldo Martinez who ended up throwing the ball wide of first base allowing pinch runner Justin Pacchioli to score the tying run and sending the game into extras. The Patriots had an opportunity to win it in the tenth when catcher Yovan Gonzalez hammered a two-out triple to dead center. However, Adam Weisenburger grounded out to third base as the contest moved on to the eleventh.
In the bottom half of the inning, Somerset right fielder Justin Trapp (2-for-5) drew a lead-off walk. After first baseman Danny Dorn struck out, Kelly delivered in the clutch again, drilling a base hit to right field. With Trapp running full steam on the play around the bases, third base coach Glen Barker waved Trapp around third base and slid in safely at home setting off a jubilant celebration. Mike Antonini earned the win in relief hurling two shutout innings while fanning two.
“Obviously we would have loved to win it in regulation but if you use up the pitchers you want to come out on top and glad we did and a good way to start,” said Jodie. “Two huge AB’s by Scott Kelly and fought off some tough pitches in the ninth. A hard fought game and we put the hit and run on and Glen(Barker) was very aggressive at third and saw that throw coming into the infield without much aggression and Trapp kept running and sent him home.”
“I though we wouldn’t score there and have first and third but we stayed aggressive and able to win the ball game right there. We know the energy and passion he (Justin Trapp) brings to the team and wants to win and all about winning. Very athletic and can play anywhere on the field, an underrated defender and arm strength and can contribute both offensively and defensively.”
Trapp on scoring the game winning run and making a sensational running catch against the right field wall in the fifth inning, “It was a big play, the steal was on and I took off. I saw the line drive to right field and turned it on thinking I would just get to third. I saw GB (Glen Barker) waving me home and turned it on a little bit more and beat the throw. A great win for the team tonight, showing we fight for each other and resilient group and glad to be part of it. “The guy hit the ball pretty good and I got a great jump on it and made a great play.”