The Brazos Valley Bombers came into Victoria looking for a trip back to the TCL Championship, but in their way were the Victoria Generals. A one game playoff to see who would meet the East Texas Pump Jacks in the TCL Championship, was played as if it was a championship game. The Bombers sent out starting pitcher Kyle Martin to face a Generals team who were 7-3 in their last 10 games. The Bombers were 9-1 in their last 10 games, there one loss coming at home against the Generals. The two teams were to battle it out for 9 innings, but that wouldn’t be enough to decide a winner, this game went into 11 innings.
Kyle Martin would pitch 6 innings striking out 7 while giving up 4 runs after starting the 7th inning. The Bombers would get on the board first when in the 3rd inning, Myles Parma would get a 2-out single and be followed by a Jacob Rice walk. With runners on first and second, James Wharton would come to plate a hit a ball deep to left field and over the fence for a 3 run home run off of starting pitcher Dillon Newman. The Bombers would hold onto the lead for four more innings.
In the sixth inning, the Generals would score their first run of the game, when Eric Weiss would reach first on a dropped strikeout, followed by an RbI triple to right center field just out of the reach of Chris Florack, hit by Trace Knablauch. In the 7th inning the Bombers had a 3-1 lead, but a worn out Martin, began to struggle and relief pitcher Nick Johnson wasn’t able to contain the damage. Martin issued a walk to Trent Wagner followed by a single to right field by Brandon Tierney. Carter Mangum would then bunt the ball down the third base line, and the Bombers defense was going to let it roll foul, but the ball stayed fair, to load the bases. Chad Kruse would then come to the plate and be hit by the pitch and Wagner would come home to score. Alex Klonowski would then single to drive in Tierney, and that would be all for Martin. Nick Johnson would come in and inherit the base runners left by Martin,and before he could get out of the inning, the Generals would take the lead on a sacrifice fly by Eric Weiss. After 7 innings the Bombers trailed 4-3.
As the Bombers looked to be down and out, Derreck Mazzio would come in and pitch a strong 8th inning to keep the deficit at 1 run. In the top of the 9th inning, after a lead off single by Corey Toups, the Bombers made two straight outs, at that point Kevin Knapp would replace Toups at 1st, and steal second base. Myles would follow the steal with a walk to put runners on 1stand 2nd. Jacob Rice would then drive in Knapp on an RBI single. Brennyn Smith would work a walk to put two runners on, and Brandon Wood would come thought with clutch two out hitting driving in two runs on a single. The Bombers would take the lead 7-3 in the top of the 9th inning.
In the home half of the ninth, things began to get stressful for Bombers players and fans. Mazzio would give up a loud double off of the left field fence to Patrick Duncan, and Eric Weiss would then drive him in on a 2-run home run to left field, putting the Generals within one run. Knablauch would then follow with a blooping single over the 2nd baseman, and Ryan Gidry would drive in the tying run on an RBI double off of pitcher Andrew Godail.
The bottom of the 11th inning would be the last inning of the Bombers season. Godail pitched into the 11th, but gave up back to back single to Duncan, and Weiss. Logan Burch would come in to pitch and after a nice pick off throw to get Duncan at second, Knoblauch would single to put runners back on first and second. Ryan Guedry would then single off of Burch to drive in Weiss, and the game winning run. The Bombers would fall in extras 8-7.
With this loss the Bombers are out of the playoffs and have next year to look forward to. Taking a look back the Bombers set a record for all time wins with 39, they finished with the best overall record in the TCL 39-21. The record for the second half of the season was 22-8. The Bombers also want to thank their fans, host families, player’s families, and sponsors for your support of the record breaking year. A big thanks to American Momentum Bank, Brazos Bingo, Jones and Lowe Agency, and the Physician Centre. The Bombers will be back next year and will look to return to the TCL Championship.
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