Silver Hawks Win in Walk-Off -- Literally
The South Bend Silver Hawks (73-53) took advantage of an atypical shaky performance by Dayton Dragons' (63-62) closer Alejandro Chacin (BS, 5; L, 4-4) for a true walk-off win Tuesday night at Four Winds Field. Coming into the ninth inning trailing 4-2, the Silver Hawks tied the game on back-to-back RBI singles by first baseman Marty Herum and center fielder DJ Bowman. After shortstop Andrew Velazquez was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Chacin walked designated hitter Chuck Taylor on four pitches to push across the Hawks' winning run, giving South Bend a 5-4 victory.
The South Bend Silver Hawks, Class-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, were first to get on the board with a run in the bottom of the second. With two outs, second baseman Jamie Westbrook singled towards second base. Catcher Michael Perez followed with a walk to push Westbrook to second. Herum then collected his first of three hits on the night with a single to right to score Westbrook for an early 1-0 Hawks lead.
The Dayton Dragons, Class-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, knotted the score against South Bend starter Anthony Banda in the top of the fourth. After Banda recorded the first two outs in order, third baseman Tanner Rahier roped a double off the left field wall. Left fielder Jon Matthews followed with a single to right that allowed Rahier to score evening the score at 1-1.
The Hawks retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Perez led off the frame with a double off the batter's eye and then moved up to third on Herum's single to right. Velazquez followed by lofting the ball deep enough to left field to score Perez from third on the sacrifice as the Hawks jumped back in front 2-1.
Banda kept the Hawks in front until he ran into trouble in the seventh. After recording two outs, Banda gave up a bunt single down the third base to right fielder Jonathan Reynoso. Second baseman Ronald Bueno followed with a triple to the gap in right-center to plate Reynoso and even the score at 2-2.
The Dragons grabbed the momentum in the eighth as they unknotted the tied ballgame with a two run inning. Center fielder Phillip Ervin lead off with a double to deep left field and then advanced to third on a 1-3 ground out by Rahier. A ground ball back up the middle into center by Matthews allowed Ervin to cross the plate for the Dragons first lead of the evening. Catcher Jose Ortiz continued the onslaught. With Matthews on the move, Ortiz did his part to complete the perfectly executed hit and run by slapping a single to shallow left off Hawks reliever Nick Sarianides. When Reynoso grounded a ball to Velazquez at short, it looked like the Hawks might be out of the inning. However, a hard sliding Ortiz kept Velazquez from completing the double play and South Bend had to settle for the fielder's choice. The play kept the inning alive, allowing Matthews to score and put the Dragons up 4-2.
After Adam Miller (W, 5-1) pitched a perfect ninth inning, South Bend decided it was time for a rally of their own. Right fielder Justin Williams drew a one out walk off Dayton closer Chacin. Then during Westbrook's at-bat, Chacin uncorked a wild pitch, enabling Williams to saunter to second. Struggling to regain his control, Chacin plunked Perez to put runners at first and second with two outs. Herum was next to step into the box and he continued his LePeep Player of the Game performance by singling to shallow left to score Williams from second and move Perez up to third. After taking the count full, Bowman followed with a single up the middle to score Perez. Still battling his control, Chacin hit his second batter of the inning. This time it was Velazquez who took the punishment, and headed down to first to load the bases. With tension mounting and the game in the balance, Taylor used his eyes and kept the bat on his shoulder drawing a game winning walk on four straight pitches to secure the Hawks' 5-4 comeback victory.
The Silver Hawks and Dragons wrap up the homestand Wednesday night at Four Winds Field, with the first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. Blake Perry (7-5, 4.50) will take the mound for the Hawks, and Nick Travieso (11-5, 3.17) is scheduled to start for the Dragons.
Wednesdays at Four Winds Field kids eat free! All kids 12 and under get a voucher at the gate for a free hot dog, chips and a drink. Kids Eat Free is presented by Aunt Millie's.