Bats 9, Alley Cats 8 (10)\ Mixing a gamble and an improvisation with a bunch of line drives, the Greensboro Bats created something improbable on Thursday night.
The Bats scored four runs in the bottom of the 10th inning for a dramatic 9-8 victory over the Charleston, W. Va., Alley Cats in Memorial Stadium. Elvis Corporan slid in with the winning run, scoring from second on a single by David Fowler.``I can't recall ever playing on a team that came back like that,' Fowler said. ``This is a great boost for everyone. We've got the confidence that we can come back in tough situations.'
The Bats looked done when the Alley Cats scored three times in the top of the 10th to take an 8-5 lead, then brought in closer Andrew McCulloch. The right-hander came in with an 0.61 ERA and had given up just three earned runs all season.
But Jason Grove, Yhency Brazoban and Sam Bozanich greeted him with solid singles to load the bases. Corporan lined one up the middle to bring in one run and Omar Fuentes sent another in the same spot to score a second.
Charleston manager Rolando Pino turned to Alexis Guzman to stem the tide, but Ivan Reyes hit a sacrifice fly that tied the score.
Fowler picked on the first pitch and whistled yet another shot up the middle. Bats manager Mitch Seoane windmilled his right arm. Corporan took a wide turn at third and headed home.
The throw from center fielder Justin Singleton reached catcher Guillermo Quiroz on one hop and clearly beat the runner. But Corporan slid wide and plate umpire Josh Miller signaled safe, triggering a celebration by the Bats.
Quiroz jumped up in protest and Pino charged out of the dugout, going nose-to-nose with Miller but getting no results.
``I didn't want to play any more extra innings,' Corporan said with a smile. 'I wasn't sure (Seoane) was going to send me, so I hesitated and then I kept going. (Quiroz) didn't tag me; I went around him, slid to the side and got the plate with my hand.'
It's not the kind of slide anyone practices, but Seoane didn't care.
``It was a great slide,' he said, ``and it took guts for the umpire to call him safe because the ball was there. But you've still got to make the tag.
``I just took a chance. It took Elvis forever to get to third and for a split second I thought about holding him. But with the winning run, I wanted to make them make a play.'
The Bats improved to 13-7 in the second half, which Seoane hopes will ignite his team.
``I really feel we're going to play well (Friday) because of this,' he said. ``Not that I expect Charleston to give up, but we got 17 hits and that gives us confidence.'\ \ Contact Bill Hass at 373-7047 or firstname.lastname@example.org