It was another day and another nail-biter at Shaw Park on Saturday as the Winnipeg Goldeyes squeaked out a 7-6 win over the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.
With the score tied at 6-6 in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Goldeyes needed an answer. They had been held scoreless for five innings and led the game 6-5 until RedHawks right fielder John Silviano took the wind out of their sails with a solo shot to right field minutes earlier.
Designated hitter Logan Hill wouldn’t let the Fish go down without a fight and responded with a deep solo shot of his own to left field. His first home run of the year couldn’t have come at a better time, putting the Goldeyes up by one run en route to victory.
“It’s huge, it’s really exciting,” said Hill. “It’s what you always dream of and it was a little sweeter tonight especially since last night I was the last out of the game in a hard-fought battle. The game just always has a way of finding you and you keep finding yourself in those situations.”
Saturday’s contest was a game where the opening inning was the most productive, with the two teams combining for six runs.
RedHawks first baseman Drew Ward put the visitors on the board first, smacking a solo home run into left field in the game’s third at bat. This didn’t seem to phase the Fish, as shortstop Andrew Martinez stepped up to answer back in the bottom half of the first inning with a grand slam.
“Really just the fight this team has is a lot of fun,” said Hill.
Just as it looked like the Goldeyes were going to cruise to a sweet Saturday night victory, Fargo-Moorhead put the pressure on. With the score sitting at 6-2 in the top of the fourth, RedHawks left fielder Kevonte Mitchell brought the visitors within one off of a three-run blast. However, the Goldeyes defence held steady and the team got out of the inning without any additional damage.
Defence was key for the Fish on Saturday, especially with a lack of offence. Relievers Tasker Strobel, Travis Seabrooke and Erasmo Pinales combined for four scoreless innings.
“That bullpen really, really kept us in the game,” said Goldeyes hitting coach Amos Ramon.
In the top of the eighth inning, however, the defence was almost the Goldeyes’ undoing, as Zac Ryan gave up a game-tying home run. Ryan battled back and struck out the next three batters, setting the stage for what was a thrilling finish.
“The way he bounced back… that says a lot about who he is as a person, a player and a competitor,” said Hill. “That’s really not easy to do.”
The Goldeyes will dance with the RedHawks again today at 1 p.m. at Shaw Park, where they’ll look to win the rubber match and take the season-opening three-game series.
“We knew we were still in it… there’s just no quit in us right now,” said Hill.