DANVILLE, Va.- The Danville Braves built a 6-3 lead against the Bluefield Blue Jays on Sunday thanks to some new faces, but ultimately it was a familiar foe that did them in as they lost by a final score of 7-6. The tides turned in the 6th inning when the Blue Jays scored four times, including three runs on a bizarre play to take the lead.
In the top of the 1st, off of Braves' hurler Jacob Belinda, Chavez Young of the Blue Jays doubled on a shallow fly ball that bounced off of second baseman Derian Cruz's glove. Three hitters later, Ryan Noda drove him home with a single to right field. In the bottom of the inning, the Braves' offense brought fans to their feet when Drew Waters (making his Danville debut) doubled on the first pitch he saw. The Braves' second round draft pick this year would come around to score on a base hit by Kevin Maitan, the top international prospect in the Braves' system. Maitan's single would tie the game at 1, but two batters later, Leudys Baez singled and drove in two runs, giving him 14 RBIs on the year.
The Blue Jays would tie the game off reliever Keith Weisenberg in the 3rd inning, but in the bottom of the 5th, the Braves would break the 3-3 tie with a double by Bradley Keller. Griffin Benson followed two batters later with a 2 run single, making it 6-3 in favor of the Braves (11-13).
In the 6th, Bluefield shortstop Kevin Smith homered to lead off the inning, making the score 6-4 in favor of Danville. Then, with the bases loaded and no outs, Jesus Severino hit a high chopper towards first base, allowing a run to score. Benson couldn't make the play, but Cruz was there to back it up and made an off-balance throw towards pitcher Raymar Navarro, who was racing to cover first base. The throw sailed wide and rolled all the way to the backstop. Upon seeing the errant throw, Bluefield runner McGregory Contreras, who had been standing on third base, broke for home. Benson retrieved the ball and threw wildly to William Contreras who was covering the plate. That allowed both McGregory and Ryan Gold to score, giving the Blue Jays a 7-6 lead.
Maitan and Waters combined to go 3-9 in their Danville debuts. Maitan also showed his range, racing to his left and fielding a ball behind second base before spinning around and firing to first. Navarro took the loss for the Braves, surrendering four runs (two earned) in two innings.
Dilmer Mejia gets the ball for the series finale tomorrow. It is Dollar Monday at Legion Field, as well as a carpet square giveaway, courtesy of Newcomb Carpet. The gates open at 5:45 and the first pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. For tickets, call 434-797-3792 or go online to dbraves.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.