PORT CHARLOTTE, FL (May 20, 2015) - In one of the most tightly contested series of the season, the Stone Crabs and Hammerheads battled on Monday and Wednesday at Charlotte Sports Park. The first matchup resulted in a 1-0 Jupiter victory in 11 on a night when the 'Crabs finished 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Faced with the tall task of seeing Hammerheads ace Scott Lyman, Wednesday morning's game came down to the very end once again. And in the deciding game of the series, Kentrell Dewitt's two-run single in the fourth off Chris Kirsch held up in a 2-1 final.
Kirsch came out hot despite the 10:02 start time, retiring the first seven hitters he faced before walking Joel Jimenez and Yefri Perez with one out in the third. After striking out Hammerheads leadoff hitter J.T. Riddle, Austin Dean rocketed a line drive up the middle that was stabbed by shortstop Willy Adames on a diving attempt to his left.
Jupiter's big inning came in the fourth when Felix Munoz and Avery Romero singled with one out. Armando Araiza then tried picking off Romero at first, but the errant throw skipped by Jake Bauers and allowed the runners to advance to second and third. Kirsch (2-2) established a new season high with his fifth strikeout when he rung up Blake Barber, but DeWitt singled home both runners with a base hit into right for a 2-0 lead.
Lyman retired eight straight after walking Braxton Lee with one out in the third. It was Lee who then started the home sixth with an infield single up the middle. He tried stealing second base, but a strong throw from the catcher Jimenez negated the fast center fielder for the first out. Lyman then fell behind on Kean Wong 2-0, and Wong lifted the next pitch down the left field line. DeWitt sprinted over and leapt out for a diving catch, but the ball eluded him and he remained down on the ground while Wong motored all the way around for an inside-the-park-home run. With the 'Crabs within a run at 2-1, DeWitt was removed from the game for Rehiner Cordova.
In Lyman's final inning in the seventh, Granden Goetzman started it off by reaching on a dropped third strike. After stealing second base, Armando Araiza laid down a bunt single to third to put runners at the corners with no outs for Pat Blair. On a 1-0 pitch, the Baltimore native pushed a bunt down in front of the mound, and Lyman raced in to flip it to the plate to nab Goetzman for the first out. Lyman then struck out Yoel Araujo and threw a wild pitch, but retired Lee on a groundout to short to end the inning with runners left at second and third.
Down to their final out in the ninth against Juancito Martinez, Araiza stepped up with a single through the left side for his first two-hit game. The next pitch hit Blair square in the back above his uniform number, and the tying and winning runs were on base for Araujo. He took ball one, but Martinez earned his second save of the series in his league-leading 17th appearance by getting a groundball to short to end the game.
The homestand continues Thursday night at 6:30 PM when the Stone Crabs welcome the Tampa Yankees to Port Charlotte for the start of a four-game series. It's Thirsty Thursday, where fans can enjoy 12 oz. fountain sodas and domestic draft beers for $1 as well as $2 domestic bottles until the end of the 5th inning! Tickets are still available, so visit www.stonecrabsbaseball.com or call 941-206-HITS (4487) to order your tickets now!