Here’s a small piece of advice for York Revolution fans: Don’t ever leave a Revs' game early.
In case you ducked out of Sunday's game sometime before the seventh inning, here's a brief recap of what you missed.
York scored four times in the bottom of the seventh to turn a 6-4 deficit into an 8-6 advantage over the Lancaster Barnstormers, and then added insurance in the bottom of the eighth with three more runs to cap off an 11-6 victory.
The seventh-inning rally was the third time in the game that the Revs (52-41) erased a Lancaster (43-50) lead. The first two times in the game, first in the bottom of the third and then again in the bottom of the fourth, all York could manage to do was tie the score. That third instance finally put it over the top and gave the team a series split in the four-game weekend series.
But, here's the thing. At this point in the season, some 93 games into it, we shouldn't be surprised when the Revs come from behind to win a ball game. Rather, it's come to be expected that somehow, some way, until the final out is recorded, the Revs will pull a rabbit out of their hats and steal a win. It's becoming this team's trademark, and Sunday's game was just another example.
"You can see it right here," first baseman Joel Guzman said, gesturing to the upbeat clubhouse celebrating the victory. "We're just having fun. If we lose a game, it doesn't matter. We just get ready for the next game. We're just having fun. When a team is having fun and getting along, that's what happens."
The comebacks that York are pulling off this season aren't minor one- or two-run deficits. No, the Revs are turning three-, four- and five-run deficits into wins, and converting them late in the games, when the opposition can all but taste victory.
Twice this year already, York has scored seven runs in the ninth inning to erase at least five-run holes and earn wins. Both instances matched team records for the biggest ninth inning in franchise history.
When you look at how the Revs are pulling off some of their wins, it's no wonder they clinched the first-half Atlantic League Freedom Division title, earning a playoff spot, and are now right back near the top of the division standings for the second half, as well, at 12-11.
"I think it's the attitude," manager Mark Mason said. "We play as hard as we can, and sometimes it's not pretty. But, we play as hard as we can and we don't quit."
It's not the most glamorous explanation for the comebacks, but it doesn't need to be. The results speak for themselves.
Full team effort: In Sunday's contest at PeoplesBank Park, it took the entire team to come from behind and shock its division rival.
The Barnstormers struck first in the opening inning, jumping out to a 1-0 lead, but could've done more damage had a base-running blunder not run them out of the inning. York's first comeback in the game came in the bottom of the third when Bryan Pounds drew a one-out, bases-loaded walk to level the score. However, a double play to end the frame prevented the Revs from pulling ahead. In the next inning, Lancaster struck for three runs to re-claim a 4-1 lead.
But, comeback No. 2 immediately followed after an error with two outs, gave the Revs an extra out, and Jared Mitchell made it count, belting a three-run homer to tie the game again, this time at 4-4.
The up-and-down game continued into the fifth for York, when the Barnstormers struck for two runs on a two-out double off reliever Manny Corpas to capture their third lead of the game. That would be the last time they played from in front, however. The Revs finally put strung together a series of hits to score four times in the bottom of the seventh. Back-to-back lead-off singles by Guzman and Andres Perez got things started, and Pounds drove in his second run of the day with a double into the corner.
The next man up, Michael Rockett, put York ahead for the first time and for good with a two-run triple and then later scored in the inning on a Brandon Chaves single. By the end of the inning, the Revs led, 8-6. Even with the Atlantic League's co-saves leader Mike DeMark warming in the bullpen, Guzman launched a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to add insurance and put the game to rest.
York hasn't been the same team that it was in the first half, in terms of consistency, but there's no denying the fight it shows game-in and game-out.
And, if anything, come playoff time, that could be the ultimate x-factor.
"It's a long season and a lot of games," Guzman said. "Every game is different. You just have to keep battling, keep battling and never give up."
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org