Pulaksi, VA - Similar to the first game in the Appalachian League Championship Series, the Greeneville Astros had an early lead on Friday night at Calfee Park but could not hold on as the Pulaski Mariners got a walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the game, 6-5, and win the league title. It is the first Appalachian League Championship for Pulaski since 1991, when they were an affiliate of the Atlanta Braves.
The Astros' initial lead came in the top of the second inning facing the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year, Pulaski's right-hander Edwin Diaz. With runners at second and third and two outs, Thomas Lindauer hit a line drive double into center field to plate two runs. Then, Tanner Mathis immediately followed Lindauer with a two-run homer to center field to put the Astros on top, 4-0.
In the top of the third, after four straight walks to begin the inning, the Astros added one more run to give them a 5-0 lead. However, they missed an opportunity to add more as they grounded into a double play and then struck out for the final out of the inning.
Over the next two innings, the Mariners got on the scoreboard and cut into the Astros' lead. Toby DeMello had a two-run double in the third. Then, during the fourth, Jeffrey Zimmerman hit a sacrifice fly to score Gabrial Franca from third to make the score 5-3, still in favor of the Astros.
Two innings later, in the sixth, the Mariners had runners at second and third. Then, Aaron Barbosa's ground ball knocked in two runs with some help from a fielding error by the Astros. That evened the score at 5-5.
With the score still tied going into the bottom of the ninth inning, the Mariners had their chance for a walk-off win. After loading the bases, with one out, Gabrial Franca hit a line drive single into right field to bring in the winning run and clinch the series.
For more information on the Greeneville Astros, please visit www.greenevilleastros.com or call (423) 638-0411.