The Gateway Grizzlies allowed a late lead to slip away in a 7-5 loss to the Florence Freedom on Wednesday night at GCS Ballpark.
The Grizzlies (3-9) were a strike away from their second consecutive victory, but Florence outfielder Austin Newell delivered a 2-RBI single on the tenth pitch of an at-bat to give the Freedom a 6-5 lead. The win for the Freedom (6-5) snapped the team’s four-game losing streak.
The Grizzlies entered the ninth inning leading 5-4 thanks to a four-run eighth inning. With runners on first and second with two outs, Rolando Gomez roped a single to right field to score Jorge Chavarria. The very next batter, Blake Brown, followed with a towering three-run homer over the left field fence to give Gateway its first lead of the game.
However, Gateway was unable to close it out. Grizzlies’ closer Brett Zawacki (1-1) allowed back-to-back singles to start the ninth and Michael Pair reached off of a bunt attempt to load the bases. Zawacki struck out two straight hiters before Newell hit the game-winning single. The Freedom would tack on one more run in the inning to go ahead 7-5.
Gateway had two hits in the ninth to bring the winning run to the plate, but Ed Kohout retired Shawn Payne to end the threat and secure the victory.
Cody Bishop hit a solo home run in the second inning for Florence to start the scoring. The Freedom then jumped ahead 4-0 on a few Grizzlies’ miscues. A single by Newell in the fifth inning scored Steve Carillo, who was hit by a pitch, and Sean Mahely, who reached on an error. An RBI single in the sixth inning by Mahley plated Sam Eberle, who also reached on a Grizzlies’ error.
Florence RHP Daniel DeSimone (1-1) earned the victory in relief of starting pitcher Chuck Weaver. Weaver allowed two earned runs in 7.1 innings of work and struck out nine batters. Gateway starter Tyler Thompson allowed just one earned run in six innings of work.
The rubber game between these two teams will take place tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. RHP Vincent Molesky (0-1) will take the mound for Gateway and Jake Stephens (0-1) will pitch for Florence. The game will be aired on the Grizzlies Radio Network, which includes 101 ESPN’s digital platforms and 1400 AM KJFF.