DANVILLE, Va. - What started as a promising evening at Legion Field turned into a long evening for the Danville Braves' faithful, as the Braves built a 5-1 lead before ultimately falling 7-6 on Friday to the Burlington Royals. The win snapped a four game skid for Burlington, while sending the Braves to a .500 record (8-8).
Dilmer Mejia got the ball for the Braves tonight and surrendered a pair of hits in the first inning, giving the Royals a quick 1-0 lead. But the Braves roared back in the bottom of the inning with five hits of their own. Newcomer Raysheandall Michel led off with a single, but was erased on a force out. Then with two men out, Drew Lugbauer, Bradley Keller, Leudys Baez, and Nick Shumpert all singled to plate three runs and give the Braves a 3-1 lead.
In the second, Derian Cruz would double, scoring Michel, and a line drive single to left by Hagen Owenby brought Cruz around to score to give Danville a 5-1 advantage. The Braves would amass 10 hits through the first three inning, and finish with 14 hits overall.
Things began to go sour for the Braves in the third inning, when a two out error by Shumpert paved the way for Royals' first baseman Dennicher Carrasco who crushed a Mejia offering over the left field fence. The 439-foot blast, the longest at Legion Field this year, pulled the Royals to within 1 run, 5-4.
In the top of the fourth, Danville reliever Keith Weisenberg loaded the bases before uncorking a pitch that went to the backstop, allowing a run to score. After retrieving the ball, catcher Owenby threw it away which allowed another runner to score, giving the Royals a 6-5 lead. Burlington (4-11) would score one more time on a passed ball in the seventh inning to give the Royals a 7-5 lead. Of those seven runs, only three were earned, as the Braves committed six errors to continuously provide scoring chances for Burlington.
Despite the many defensive miscues, the Braves still had a chance in the bottom of the ninth. After loading the bases with no outs, and following a Burlington pitching change, Owenby lined a ball to medium right field, which scored a run on the sacrifice fly. Up stepped Lugbauer with the tying run on third base. On the first pitch he saw, Lugbauer grounded to second baseman Jose Marquez who started a 4-6-3 double play that ended the game with the Braves coming up just short, 7-6. Royals starter J.C. Cloney (1-0) earned the win, despite being tagged for five earned runs and 10 hits in five innings of work. Keith Weisenberg was saddled with the loss (0-1).
The Danville Braves Community Concert Series presented by Danville Toyota continues tomorrow, Saturday, July 8th with a performance by Elliott Humphries at 5:45 before the Braves and Royals square off again at 7. Odalvi Javier (1-0, 4.15) gets the ball for the Braves. Tomorrow night is also Cancer Awareness Night, presented by Centra. All jerseys worn by Danville players and coaches will be auctioned off and proceeds will go to the Centra Foundation and the Danville Cancer Association. For ticket information 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.