Pounds' walk-off single caps York's comeback triumph
- Bryan Pounds' walk-off single gave York an 8-7 win over Sugar Land.
- The victory improved the Revs to a league-best 65-48 overall this season.
- York came from behind on three different occasions to earn the win over the Skeeters.
For eight-plus innings on Tuesday night, Bryan Pounds sat in the York Revolution dugout and acted more like a cheerleader than a player.
Heading into the bottom of the ninth, York trailed the Sugar Land Skeeters 7-6 and faced one of the Atlantic League's best closers in Derrick Loop. Before the inning, Revs bench coach Paul Fletcher alerted Pounds that, if the Revs got to Salvador Paniagua's spot in the order, he'd be pinch-hitting.
The first three players reached base in the inning for York and Brandon Chaves walked with the bases loaded to tie the game at 7-7. Josh Wilson struck out for the inning's first out, allowing Pounds to have his number called. With two strikes, Pounds delivered, hitting a sharp grounder between third and short, with the ball getting knocked down by Sugar Land's Beamer Weems, but his throw home was too late to throw out Kevin Rivers, giving the Revs the 8-7 walk-off victory at PeoplesBank Park and a water-cooler shower for Pounds.
"(Fletcher) told me to be ready for when Paniagua came up," Pounds said about being called upon as a pinch hitter. "So, that really helped out that I could get down there and say a prayer and kind of visualize — I've seen Loop before — and visualize an AB off of him."
See-saw battle: Pounds' winning hit capped a see-saw battle between the top two teams in the Atlantic League's Freedom Division. It was a game in which each team had the lead three different times.
For Pounds, being up in a spot like that is what he lives for, coming up with his seventh hit this season in York's final at-bat of a game.
"It seems like it this year," Pounds said. "I think every player definitely lives for that moment and you play them over in your mind so that when the moment does come, it's just another moment."
With the win, the Revs improved to a league-best 65-48 on the year and 25-18 in the second half of the season, while the Skeeters fell to 63-52 on the year and 28-17 in the second half, holding a two-game lead over York in the Freedom Division second-half standings.
The Revs fell behind 1-0 after the top of the first, but were instantly put ahead with a two-run homer by Joel Guzman to hold a 2-1 advantage after one. Guzman then extended the team's lead to 3-1 with a long RBI double in the bottom of the second that just missed clearing the wall in dead center field to make it 3-1.
Sugar Land got a run back off York starter Frank Gailey in the top of the third, but Kevin Rivers responded with a solo home run of his own in the bottom of the third to make it 4-2. Gailey ran into trouble in the top of the fourth, capped by a three-run home run that put the Skeeters on top before they even recorded an out in the inning. After that, however, he battled to retire six straight batters to get through five innings while throwing 111 pitches.
"Right after (the homer) he got six in a row and they were quick outs," Fletcher said about Gailey's willingness to battle. "So, to just get us through the fifth helped us out a lot."
The Revs eventually regained the lead with solo runs in the sixth and seventh to take a 6-5 lead into the eighth, but former York slugger Johan Limonta did his best to spoil the evening by launching a two-run, go-ahead homer off of reliever Manny Corpas to give Sugar Land its third advantage of the night at 7-6.
Magical season: All that did, however, was set the stage for Pounds' walk-off hit and provide the Revs with yet another come-from-behind win. At this point, even the players are starting to believe that something magical is happening with their season.
"There's definitely been some magic going on," Pounds said. "That's what's cool about this team. We never feel like we're out of a game and that's obviously a plus. I don't know, there's definitely some magic in the air, so hopefully it carries into the playoffs."
York out-hit the Skeeters 12-6, but Sugar Land was aided by some inconsistent pitching on the Revs' behalf. York hurlers struck out 11, but also surrendered 10 walks in the game.
Game 2 of the three-game series is set for Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at PeoplesBank Park.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org