COLUMBIA, S.C. - The 2019 Fireflies season is in the books and it's time to count down the top 10 moments of the year. From dominant performances to dramatic comebacks, Columbia's season featured some unforgettable moments. Here are the best.
10. Domination in Hagerstown
Columbia surged past the Suns in Hagerstown from August 3-6. For the first time ever, the Fireflies swept a four-game road series. The series was arguably the most exciting of the year: the four games were decided by seven total runs and the Fireflies won the finale in extra innings.
9. Sharp's Dazzling Doubleheader
Brian Sharp almost single-handedly led Columbia to a doubleheader sweep of Rome on May 13. The Missouri native drove in the winning run in the first game with a walk-off single and then snapped a tie in game two with a three-run home run. His blast put the Fireflies ahead for good.
8. Mauricio Leaves His Mark on the All-Star Game
Ronny Mauricio was elected to the South Atlantic League All-Star game played in Charleston, West Virginia, on June 18. The Mets top prospect made his presence felt immediately when he entered the game as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning. The 18-year-old promptly doubled and scored later that frame.
7. Butto and Acosta Shut Down Charleston
Starters Jose Butto and Daison Acosta overpowered Charleston in a doubleheader sweep on July 14. Butto set the bar high with five scoreless innings and eight strikeouts in a 2-1 victory in game one only to watch Acosta hurl six shut-out frames and punch out nine in a 5-0 win in game two. The pair - along with Bryce Hutchinson - allowed just seven hits in the two games.
6. The Inside-the-Park'er
Who doesn't love an inside the park home run? Mark Vientos launched the first ever at Segra Park on July 12 against Charleston. He vaulted a pitch from Yankees prospect Roansy Contreras off the angled left-center field wall. After the ball ricocheted away from the RiverDogs' centerfielder, Vientos was off to the races. It was only the second inside the park homer hit by a Firefly.
5. The Two-Out Ninth-Inning Rally
With Columbia trailing by a run and down to its final out on April 18 against Hickory, five straight Fireflies reached including Walter Rasquin who knocked in the winning run. Bradley Marquez was just as clutch as his single plated the tying run in the frame. It was the first walk-off win of the season.
4. The Eight-Run Barrage
In front of the largest crowd of the season (7,872) during Columbia's Independence Day celebration on July 3, the Fireflies scored eight runs and set a franchise record by collecting nine hits in the first inning against Greenville. Never before had Columbia notched that many runs and hits in the first inning of a game in franchise history. The Fireflies sent 13 batters to the plate and the first-inning haymaker vaulted Columbia to a 9-2 win.
3. The Comeback in Lexington
With their backs up against the wall, the Fireflies engineered the greatest ninth-inning comeback in franchise history on June 24 in Lexington. A furious six-run rally in the top of the ninth propelled Columbia to an 8-6 victory over the Legends. The Fireflies sent 10 men to the plate that frame and it was Hayden Senger's two-run double that ultimately put Columbia ahead for good.
2. Mauricio's Record Breaker
Ronny Mauricio broke the Fireflies single-season hits record with a base hit in the third inning against Hagerstown on August 6 at Municipal Stadium. The 18-year-old Mets prospect passed J.C. Rodriguez's total of 111 and wound up finishing the season with 126.
1. The Near No-No
Thomas Szapucki and Tylor Megill carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning against Hickory on June 28. Even despite Jonathan Ornelas' double with one out in the final frame, Szapucki, Megill and Billy Oxford still combined to one-hit the Crawdads in a 4-0 shut-out victory. The three hurlers struck out nine, walked two and surrendered the lone hit.
About the Columbia Fireflies
The Columbia Fireflies are the South Atlantic League affiliate of the New York Mets. Winners of Ballpark Digest's Best New Branding and Logo Award in 2016, the Fireflies play games across the southeast and mid-Atlantic regions, including against in-state rivals in Charleston and Greenville. The team partnered with the city of Columbia and Hughes Development to construct Segra Park, a multi-use outdoor sports and entertainment venue at the center of the BullStreet District. The Columbia Fireflies are owned by Hardball Capital, owners of the Fort Wayne TinCaps of the Midwest League and the Chattanooga Lookouts of the Southern League. For more information, visit www.ColumbiaFireflies.com, or follow the Fireflies on Twitter (@ColaFireflies), Facebook (facebook.com/columbiafireflies) and all popular social media platforms.
About Segra Park
Segra Park (formerly Spirit Communications Park), named as the 2018 South Atlantic League Best Playing Surface and the 2016 Ballpark Digest Ballpark of the Year, is a 365-day per year multi-use sports and entertainment venue located in the heart of downtown Columbia, South Carolina. Segra Park is the home ballpark for the Columbia Fireflies, the South Atlantic League affiliate of the New York Mets. Designed for baseball, concerts, football, soccer and a host of other activities, the venue seats approximately 9,000 for sporting events and up to 15,000 for major outdoor concerts. With 16 luxury suites and a 7,000 square-foot Club Level Lounge, Segra Park also hosts everything from business meetings to wedding receptions, and everything in between. The venue is open 365 days a year and serves as a public park, with a wrap-around concourse representing 1/3 of a mile for walkers and joggers. For more information, visit www.SegraPark.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.