Tim Kaminski’s walk-off sacrifice fly off of former Royal, Matt Ruckel, gave the Royals a wild, come-from-behind 13 – 12 victory over Ruckel’s Bananas in the second game of their twin bill on Sunday at Spirit Park. The Royals battled not only Hauf’s Mariners and the Bananas on this day, but also the elements as they played both games on field 1 with a fierce, 20 mph wind blowing directly in from left field.
Banana’s third baseman, Will Ryan, was on track to be the hero with three hits and three RBIs, including a two out, 2-run, seventh inning double with the bases loaded, which snapped a 10 – 10 tie. But it would be the Royals’ bottom of the order who provided the fireworks in the bottom of the seventh to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
As the sixth inning ended, the two teams were tied at 10. Yet heading to the seventh, the visiting Bananas had the top of their order due up (Ruckel, Lee McDonald, and Miguel Duron), while the Royals had the bottom of their order due up (Larry Lachman, Jorge Rivera, and Tony Lowery).
Down 12 – 10, Lachman singled to lead off the seventh. Rivera was still looking for his first hit of the game when he stepped into the batter’s box...and he more than delivered. He drilled a 3 – 2 pitch into the teeth of the 20-mph wind that sailed over Duron’s head for an RBI triple, making it 12 – 11. To say the Royals’ dugout went nuts would be an understatement. Rivera could have been content with an easy RBI double, but his hustle and slide into third base barely beat the relay throw. Batting next was Lowery, who was also searching for his first hit of the game, and he also came through in the clutch. Lowery, with a patented RBI single to score Rivera, tied things up again at 12, and – most importantly – turned the lineup over with nobody out. Charles Lachman – whose leadoff single sparked the Royals’ 3-run rally in the bottom of the sixth – singled again, moving Lowery to second. Tommy Apligian followed with a productive out; a deep flyball to right centerfield that advanced Lowery to third. With one out and runners at first and third in a tie game in the bottom of the seventh, the Bananas intentionally walked Darius Wu to load the bases, create a force out at every base, and set the stage for Kaminski’s heroics.
It was a remarkable turn of events considering the Royals’ win probability entering the bottom of the seventh inning was only 12 percent.
Rivera’s clutch RBI triple was the last extra base hit in a game where over half of the Royals’ runs were driven in by them. Tim Kaminski’s 2-run double and Jon Kilburn’s RBI triple helped the Royals take a 4 – 0 lead in the bottom of the first. After the Bananas made it 4 – 3, Wu’s RBI triple in the third extended the Royals’ lead to 5 – 3. Both teams plated two in the fourth as Brad Stanford’s RBI triple was the big hit. However, with their two, the Bananas tied it up at 7 – 7, and had the bases loaded with only one out when Liam Kilburn turned the huge 4 – 3 double play to end the threat and the inning. The Bananas rallied for five runs in the top of the fifth to snatch the lead for the first time 10 – 7. After holding the Bananas scoreless in the top of the sixth, the Royals tied it again in the bottom of the frame, courtesy of Liam’s 2-run single and Stanford’s clutch, 2-out RBI single. Tied at 10, and heading to the seventh, little did both teams know the pyrotechnics were only getting started.
Game 2 Offensive Stars
Darius Wu 3 – 3, 2 Runs, 2 RBI, IBB, 2B
Liam Kilburn 2 – 2, 2 Runs, 3 RBI, SF
Tim Kaminski 2 – 3, 1 Run, 2 RBI, 2B, SF, GWRBI
Brad Stanford 2 – 3, 1 Run, 2 RBI, 3B
Tommy Apligian 2 – 3, 2 Runs, BB, 2B
Charles Lachman 2 – 3, 3 Runs, BB
Larry Lachman 2 – 3, 1 Run
Jorge Rivera 1 – 3, 1 Run, 1 RBI, 3B
Tony Lowery 1 – 3, 1 Run, 1 RBI
In the opener, John Hauf outdueled Brad Parr in a low scoring affair, again on field 1. However, it felt like the Royals battled mother nature more than they battled the Mariners in their 6 – 4 loss. Granted, both teams had to deal with the elements, but the Mariners did a better job than the Royals did. The Royals had 15 baserunners (12 hits and three walks), but timely hits were nowhere to be found after the first inning.
The Royals’ start to the game was promising. Charles doubled, Apligian singled, and Wu doubled to begin the game and produce the first run. One out later, Liam drove in Apligian and Wu with a 2-run single to make it 3 – 0. Unfortunately, that would be it for the rest of the game until the sixth. The Mariners didn’t fare much better. They scored two unearned runs in the first inning and plated one in the third, but they did have a breakthrough inning in the fifth to win the game.
The Royals had an hour break between games, and – apparently – that hour did a world of good for how they approached hitting, strategically, on a field with the wind blowing directly in at 20 mph – as the Bananas were about to find out.
Game 1 Offensive Stars
Liam Kilburn 2 – 3, 2 RBI
Darius Wu 2 – 3, 2 Runs, 1 RBI, 2B
Tim Kaminski 2 – 3
Royals’ Bottom of the Order Sparks Comeback to Salvage Doubleheader Split