DANVILLE, Va,- The Danville Braves kept clawing their way back into Wednesday night's game but ultimately fell just short of victory, dropping the series opener to the Bluefield Blue Jays by an 8-7 final. The Braves drop to 25-22, slipping another game behind in the chase for a postseason berth.
Danville starter Huascar Ynoa locked horns with Alvaro Galindo of Bluefield (31-16) and through the first three innings of play, both starters were perfect. Ynoa (0-2) instantly ran into trouble in the 4th, however, when five consecutive hits chased him from the game. The final nail in Ynoa's coffin was a 426-foot home run by Bluefield outfielder McGregory Contreras, which gave Bluefield a 5-0 lead.
Danville would begin to mount a comeback in the bottom of the inning thanks to a 2-run double by Austin Bush. But Bluefield would answer back for a run in the 5th to give them a 6-2 lead. Back came Danville again, this time thanks to a Raysheandall Michel double that plated both Garrison Schwartz and Luis Mejia, cutting the Blue Jays' lead to 6-4.
Bluefield tacked on another run in the 6th when Jesus Navarro singled up the middle, scoring Contreras. Now down 7-4, the Braves would add a run in the 7th when Hagen Owenby scored Schwartz on an RBI single.
In the bottom of the 9th, the Braves began the inning with a single by Jeffrey Ramos, a double by Schwartz, and an RBI single by Owenby (his third hit of the night). Ty Tice entered the game looking for the save, but a bunt single loaded the bases and a walk to Michel allowed the Braves to close the gap to a single run, 8-7, and they were in prime position to tie or win with the bases loaded and no men out.
Tice suddenly settled down, striking out Derian Cruz and Jean Carlos Encarnacion before going to a full count on Bush. Bush fouled off a trio of 3-2 pitches before striking out swinging, preserving the narrow 8-7 Bluefield win.
The Braves and Blue Jays square off again on Thirsty Thursday presented by Buffalo Wild Wings. It's also Teacher Appreciation night and teachers can show proper identification to receive a discounted general admission ticket. It's also college rivalry night and fans wearing gear of their favorite collegiate team can also receive discounted general admission tickets. Jasseel De La Cruz takes the ball for Danville in an effort to tie the series at one game apiece. And, before the game, Grand Ole Uproar will be performing at 5:45 as part of the Danville Braves Community Concert Series presented by Danville Toyota. 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.