On Saturday night the Louisville Bats were trailing 8-6 entering the bottom of the 9th inning. That score didn’t stay that way for very long. Brian O’Grady led off the inning against Columbus and fouled off the first pitch. He took a breaking ball to even the count up, but another one followed that he took to put him behind 1-2. After two foul balls he got a 1-2 fastball that was belt high and he didn’t miss it, crushing it onto the roof of the patio deck in right field. It was his 17th of the season and made it an 8-7 lead for the Clippers.
Nick Longhi came up to the plate next and he hit a chopper to shortstop and beat it out to put the tying run on first. The pitcher would throw over to first base and threw it away, moving Longhi up to second base. With Sherman Johnson at the plate and the tying run at second the left-handed hitter worked a full count before singling into center and tying the game up.
That was all the Clippers manager needed to see and came on to make a pitching change. Juan Graterol came up with the intention of sacrifice bunting the winning run over to second base, but he did one better, though it wasn’t easy. He failed to get the bunt down twice and was down 1-2 in the count, but he popped it up and and a diving third baseman came up just short and knocked it into foul territory – and Sherman Johnson took advantage of no one covering third and raced to third to put the winning run 90 feet away. Alex Blandino came off the bench to pinch hit, but instead he was hit by the first pitch he saw to load the bases with no outs.
That put Narciso Crook at the plate. He had three hits on the night entering the at-bat. He swung over a breaking ball on the first pitch. The Clippers tried the same pitch again, but Crook took it to even the count. They went back to a breaking ball for a third straight time and they weren’t fooling him at all, and Narciso Crook crushed it off the left-center field wall for the walk-off single.
Mitch Nay’s assault on the Southern League continues
Narciso Crook was the hero in Louisville with his 4-hit night. A level lower it was Mitch Nay putting together a 4-hit night. The Chattanooga Lookouts were having “Super Hero Night”, and it was Nay who did his best to fill the role.
After barely playing in April – he had just 17 at-bats – Mitch Nay has been tearing the cover off of the ball ever since the calendar flipped to May. And he kept that going on Saturday night, going 4-5 with a double and a home run. The big night pushed his season line to .311/.371/.553 with 15 doubles, 2 triples, and 9 home runs through 64 games played.