Legends On Deck

SAL Game of the Week: Rome’s Victory Ends with a Different Kind of Fireworks

The first place Rome Braves (16-7) got set for game three of their four game home series last night against the West Virginia Power (10-14) and Legends on Deck was live at State Mutual Stadium to catch all of the action. After splitting the first two games, game three kicked off with an 18 minute rain delay before turning into a beautiful night for baseball. The Braves took the field donning their red caps with the navy bill, the red tops and white pants.

The Braves sent hard throwing right hander Bryse Wilson to the mound to take on West Virginia’s 6’5 lefty, Oddy Nunez. Both pitchers were sort of matching each other early as they both faced the minimum in the first inning before both getting out of slight jams in the second thanks to good defensive plays behind them.

Wilson found himself in trouble again in the top of the third as he allowed a two out base hit to Ty Moore who would ended up stealing second before Wilson walked Carlos Munoz. Clearly not rattled, with two runners on base for the second inning in a row, Wilson reared back and made a statement pitch with a 95 mph fastball swinging strikeout of Trae Arbet. The quick working Wilson had put up three shutout innings.

The bottom of the third is when the Rome Braves started doing what the Rome Braves do best, small ball. Anyone who follows the Single-A Braves knows that they are fast, really fast. Randy Ventura got it going by legging out an infield single before stealing not only second, but third as well. It was quite a sight as it seemed as though he almost just never stopped running, stealing bases on back to back pitches, something that the Power clearly did not expect. Two batters later, Derian Cruz hit a chopper to third base that, in normal circumstances, would be an easy groundout, but it bounced over the third baseman Owen’s head, the infield was playing in at the time, and rolled into left field while Cruz hustled into second for a double, scoring Ventura. Rome would go on to hang one more on the board to take a 2-0 lead. Surprisingly, this was Nunez’s last inning as the tall left hander and his high leg kick were replaced by Blake Cederlind in the bottom of the fourth.

The Braves had given Wilson a two run cushion to work with as he trotted out for the top half of the fourth, but it didn’t last long as Hunter Owen led off the inning with a towering home run to left center field that dinged off of the flagpole donning the American flag. Center fielder Anfernee Seymour made a curious leaping attempt to catch the ball that hit 15 feet up the flagpole and you could hear his crash into the wall all the way from the press box. Seymour laid flat on his back to recover for a few seconds. He would be fine and stay in the game.

The Owen solo shot would prove to be the only run given up by Wilson as he would have a three up and three down inning in the top of the fifth before being replaced by Oriel Caicedo in the top of the sixth.

The rain returned in the bottom of the sixth, just long enough to send the fans running for the concourse level and also to create a beautiful scene around the ballpark as raindrops fell with the sunset projecting different colors in the sky. The rain did not put a damper on the Rome bats as they broke the game open with four runs in the bottom of the seventh. It was an interesting start to the inning as Cruz struck out on a breaking ball in the dirt and as he made the slow trot down the first base line, the ball was thrown away by catcher, Chris Harvey. This started a brutal half inning for the Power that was riddled with errors and Tanner Murphy made them pay for it. With runners on the corners, Murphy blasted a three run homer off of the Goo Goo Car Wash sign in left field. It was a shot that Juan Yepez, the runner on third, knew was gone on contact. As the ball traveled to the outfield I looked down at him to see him set up for the tag up. He wasn’t, he was just watching the ball with both arms in the air in celebration.

Caicedo would continue dominating the visiting bats as he did not allow a baserunner until a single from Owen with one out in the ninth that actually caused the benches to clear and the bullpens to empty after the two exchanged words near first base. The shouting match was broken up quickly with nothing escalating and Caicedo went back to work. Two batters later he got a game ending 6-4-3 double play, giving the Braves te 6-1 win. Rome would take the 2-1 series lead and game four is set for today at 2:00 pm

Perhaps the highlight of the game was the postgame promotion as the Rome Braves welcomed Dave “The Bullet” Smith Jr., or “The Human Cannonball” to Northwest Georgia. If you’re trying to figure out what a human cannonball is, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Smith puts himself inside of a massive cannon behind second base and launches himself to a net over home plate. Words can’t do it justice. The video is up on my twitter @berrys_baseball

Let’s look at some top performers.

Dave “The Bullet” Smith Jr: 120 foot human cannonball shot

Rome –

Oriel Caicedo: 4 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 2 SO, 0 BB

Tanner Murphy: 1/3, 1 HR, 3 RBI

West Virginia –

Hunter Owen: 3/4, 1 HR

Featured Image Courtesy of: David Cross/Danville Braves

Jake Berry
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