Wall ball wins Finals opener for Fisher Cats

Blue Jays No. 25 prospect belts go-ahead two-run single in 10th

Forrest Wall's single in the 10th gave the Fisher Cats a 1-0 lead in the best-of-5 Eastern League Finals. (David Monseur/MiLB.com)

By Vincent Lara-Cinisomo / MiLB.com | September 11, 2018 10:54 PM

Forrest Wall is grateful for the trade that brought him to the Toronto organization in July.

Following his big hit Tuesday, the Blue Jays probably are happy as well.

Toronto's No. 25 prospect singled in two runs with two outs in the 10th inning en route to lead Double-A New Hampshire to a 3-1 win over Akron in Game 1 of the best-of-5 Eastern League Championship Series at Canal Park.

Video: Big hit for Forrest Wall

"No, I don't think so," Wall said when asked whether he'd had a more important hit in his pro career. "In a game like that, in a moment like that, especially in the Finals, that's probably the biggest."

Colorado's 35th overall pick in 2014 was acquired on July 26 from the Rockies along with outfielder Chad Spanberger and right-hander Bryan Baker for right-handed reliever Seung-Hwan Oh.

That marked the end of a disappointing stay with the Rockies. Only eight high school second basemen have been taken in the first or supplemental first round, with Wall the most recent of those. He was considered one of the top prep hitters in that Draft class.

Gameday box score

But a torn right labrum sustained in high school and a shoulder separation in 2017 limited his defensive abilities and his offense didn't support a corner outfielder's profile. Wall hit just .206/.289/.359 for Double-A Hartford before the trade, but upped that to .271/.354/.380 with the Fisher Cats.

"It kind of motivated me, gave me a clean slate," Wall said of the trade. "I struggled early, and two weeks later I got traded. I took the opportunity to try and restart my season. ... It was something I wasn't expecting. I had a bunch of great relationships with the Rockies organization. But now I'm thankful it happened."

The first nine innings proved befitting of a championship outing as the teams played a taut game with only 10 total hits.

• Complete postseason coverage »

The RubberDucks grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning by capitalizing on wildness from Blue Jays No. 15 prospect T.J. Zeuch. The right-hander walked Ka'ai Tom and Tyler Krieger and Nellie Rodriguez followed with a line-drive RBI single to left field. Zeuch ended the threat by getting Andrew Calica to bounce into a double play and kept Akron off the scoreboard into the seventh.

The Fisher Cats tied the game in the fourth as Harold Ramirez led off with a single but was forced out by ninth-ranked prospect Cavan Biggio. The ninth-ranked Jays prospect stole second base and moved to third on Max Pentecost's grounder. With two outs, Josh Palacios grounded a ball into center to plate Biggio.

Video: Akron's Tom robs extra-base hit

The game remained 1-1 into the 10th when Pentecost led off with a walk against Jordan Milbrath (0-1). Palacios bunted Pentecost to second, and Santiago Espinal grounded a ball into center. Pentecost moved to third on the play, Espinal stole second and Milbrath intentionally walked Gunnar Heidt.

With the lefty-hitting Wall coming to the plate, Akron called on southpaw Rob Kaminsky, but Wall foiled the strategy by pulling a ground ball into right. Pinch-runner Andrew Guillotte and Espinal scored, although Heidt was thrown out at third.

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Even with the lefty coming in, Wall felt good about the situation.

"When I got in the box, I had a lot of confidence," he said. "The pressure was on the pitcher. I knew he had to throw a strike."

Kirby Snead (1-0) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the win and Travis Bergen struck out two in a scoreless 10th for his second save of the postseason.

Game 2 will be at 6:35 p.m. ET on Wednesday at Canal Park before the series moves to New Hampshire to wrap up the series.

Vince Lara-Cinisomo is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @vincelara. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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