Reading, PA - In one of the most important series of the season, all the Fightin Phils needed to do was take one from the Rumble Ponies when the teams squared off for a four-game series at FirstEnergy Stadium. With second place on the line and a three-and-a-half game divide for second place, the Rumble Ponies did what they needed to do all weekend long. Sunday's finale was aided by three Fightins errors, and the Ponies hung on for a 7-5 win to reclaim sole possession of second in the East for the first time since June 11.
There was plenty of action in the first inning when Tommy Bergjans and Casey Delgado squared off before a crowd of 5,877. The visitors struck first when Kevin Kaczmarski took Bergjans deep to make it 1-0, but the righthander responded with two outs despite two more singles in the inning from Matt Oberste and Kevin Taylor.
In the home half, Jiandido Tromp tied the game with a bases-loaded single right before Kyle Martin brought in his 50th run with a groundout to first. The Rumble Ponies stormed back with a run to tie the score in the third, getting a leadoff single from Kaczmarski, who later came around to score on a Taylor sacrifice fly.
Reading reclaimed the lead briefly in the fifth when they capitalized on a dropped third strike that allowed Angelo Mora to get on base with one out. Following a Carlos Tocci single and a walk by Mitch Walding , Tromp had another chance with the bases loaded, and he beat out a relay throw on a fielder's choice for his second RBI and a 3-2 Fightin Phils lead.
The Ponies didn't wait long to strangle the momentum right back during Bergjans final inning in the sixth. Matt Oberste led off with a single and Taylor got underneath a high flyball that took shortstop Malquin Canelo for a ride down the left field line. After dropping the popup in fair territory, Canelo [thinking the ball had landed foul] flipped the baseball up into the stands for another error that allowed the runners to advance another base. With the tying run already in, Tomas Nido lifted a sacrifice fly into center for a 4-3 Rumble Ponies lead.
Oberste added two more RBIs to his weekend with a double off Alberto Tirado after the bases were loaded up in the seventh. Trailing 7-3, Alexis Rivero entered and got the last two outs to keep the bags full of Ponies and leave the Fightins nine more outs to salvage the series.
Tocci's fourth consecutive single came with one out in the seventh, and Walding followed with a laser of an RBI single off the right field wall that scored Zach Coppola. Tromp brought in his third run of the afternoon with a flyout to right, getting the Fightins back to within two runs at 7-5. Chace Numata later opened the eighth inning with his 14th double and Canelo got on with a walk to put the tying runs on base. Neither runner would score, however, and Tim Peterson closed it out with his sixth save to hand the Fightin Phils their fifth consecutive loss and 10th in their last 11 games.
America's Classic Ballpark is proud to be a part of Pennsylvania's Americana Region. Season tickets for the 2017 season are available online at Fightins.com, by phone at 610-370-BALL, and in-person at FirstEnergy Stadium. Follow the Fightin Phils on Twitter at @ReadingFightins and like them on Facebook via www.facebook.com/fightins.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.