Pheasants Pick Up Walk Off Win
by KDLT Sports
August 04, 2011 2:13 PM
SIOUX FALLS- Sioux Falls Pheasants catcher Henry Contreras knew he let a golden opportunity evade him once on Wednesday night. He refused to let that happen a second time.
In the second extra-inning game of the series, Contreras laced a walk-off single to score Francisco Leandro, giving the Pheasants a 6-5 victory in 11 innings over the St. Paul Saints at Sioux Falls Stadium.
With one out in the 11th, Leandro doubled to deep right center field off reliever Kyle Foster. After striking out Gus Milner, the Saints chose to intentionally walk Hunter Jobes, setting the table for Henry Contreras.
Contreras, who popped out with Milner at second in the ninth, fell behind in the count 1-2 before bouncing a hit past a diving Ronnie Bourquin at third. Leandro streaked home from second for the walk-off win.
“I was hoping for another opportunity and I wanted it,” said Contreras, who pinch hit for Will Richards in the ninth. “I didn’t care that I was down 0-2, I knew I was going to put the ball in play and make something happen.”
The Saints smacked 19 hits and recorded a hit in all 11 innings, but the Birds were able to keep St. Paul off the scoreboard when it mattered most.
“This was a pretty hard-fought series,” said manager Steve Shirley. “These guys aren’t going to quit, they’re going to battle and play each game to win.”
Barry Fowler (5-4) collect the win, pitching two innings of scoreless relief in extras.
Foster (5-2) took the loss, allowing one run on two hits in 1 2/3 innings.
Trailing 5-3 in the seventh, the Saints first two batters reached to chase Pheasants starter Kyle Ruwe. Reliever Dan McDaniel induced Ole Sheldon to ground into a fielder’s choice for the first out. But Jason Cooper laced a two-run triple into the left center gap to even the score at 5-5.
Aaron Cotter gave up back-to-back singles to Sheldon and Cooper to start the ninth, but the Pheasants’ closer retired the next three batters to end the threat.
Ruwe turned in another strong outing in his fifth straight start at home, giving up four runs, three earned, despite having baserunners on in every inning.
Brandon Sing’s two-run home run in the first inning was his first since July 12, when homered twice against Fargo-Moorhead. Leandro added a solo round-tripper in the fourth inning, his fifth long ball of the year.
The rubber-game win improves the Pheasants to 35-41 on the year.
Following an off day Thursday, the Pheasants start a crucial seven-game road trip, beginning with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. A battle of the birds is set for 7:02 p.m on Friday, August 5.
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