For the second consecutive night, the ValleyCats faced a ninth-inning deficit, and for the second consecutive night, they sent nine batters to the plate. This time, it was more than enough, as the visitors scored five times in the final inning en route to a 7-3 victory at Hudson Valley.
Catcher Ryan McCurdy led off the final frame with a double, and Hector Rodriguez entered as a pinch runner. It looked as if Rodriguez would be stranded as the tying run when the next two batters made outs, but Justin Gominsky swung at the first pitch he saw, grounding it back through the pitchers' box and into center field, allowing Rodriguez to trot home and equalize the score.
Gominsky advanced to third base on a wild throw by center fielder Dio Luis, but he would not stay there for long. Miles Hamblin came through with his second hit in as many innings, a fly ball to deep left-center field for a stand-up double, giving the 'Cats a 4-3 lead.
After Matt Duffy walked, Zach Johnson continued the parade with a hard grounder down the left-field line, bringing both runs around to score. Neiko Johnson's soft single to center field capped the rally, plating Johnson with the visitors' seventh run.
Hamblin and Duffy set up the game-winning rally with eighth-inning hits. Hamblin's single through the right side was followed by Duffy's blast that short-hopped the center-field fence, bringing his teammate home all the way from first.
The 'Cats struck first off starting pitcher Andrew Bellatti, though they needed some assistance from the Renegades' defense. Justin Gominsky reached first base on an error in the top of the first inning and eventually scored on Zach Johnson's single through the left side. The 'Cats loaded the bases with two outs, but Bellatti fanned Kellen Kiilsgaard to end the threat.
That opportunity loomed large in the bottom of the frame, when Hudson Valley surprisingly struck for three runs off southpaw Kyle Hallock. After Leonardo Reginatto reached on a one-out fielding error, the next three Renegades smacked clean hits, the latter two doubles, to give the hosts a 3-1 lead.
The score remained that way for a while as both starters settled down. Hallock followed up his rocky first with four shutout innings, fanning five batters, but his opponent did the same. Bellatti, a 19-year-old righty, did not allow another ValleyCat to reach second base in his final five frames, erasing two runners with double plays.
The ValleyCats racked up 11 hits, reaching double digits for the second consecutive night. Four players had two hits apiece, while Neiko Johnson reached safely four times in five plate appearances and Zach Johnson drove home three runs.
Mitch Lambson threw three scoreless innings of relief to earn the win.
The ValleyCats (8-11) return to Dutchess Stadium to face the Renegades (9-10) again at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday evening.