LYNCHBURG, VA-Following a rain delay of more than two hours, the Lynchburg Hillcats defeated the Frederick Keys in a 13-12 slugfest on Tuesday night at City Stadium. A contest that featured eight multi-run half innings, five lead changes, 14 combined walks and 14 hits for each side, Lynchburg ultimately prevailed thanks to a five-run sixth inning.
With the Keys (15-23) and Hillcats (20-17) tied at eight after four stanzas, Lynchburg took the lead for good in the sixth. Luke Wakamatsu opened the inning with a double against Lucas Humpal , moved to third on a single and scored on a two-run double by Gavin Collins. An error by Jomar Reyes allowed Collins to score two batters later, while a base hit by Anthony Miller and an additional base knock by Dillon Persinger made it 12-8 Hillcats. A throwing error by Chris Clare plated Miller to complete the scoring.
In the seventh, the orange and black pulled within one of Lynchburg. Like the Hillcats, the Keys sent all nine men to bat in the frame. With runners at the corners, Ryan McKenna cranked an RBI double to right and Cole Billingsley followed with a two-run single. A base hit by Preston Palmeiro kept the inning alive for Wilson Garcia who added an RBI base knock to left. The former Phillies farmhand led the orange and black with five RBIs on the night.
In the eighth, the Keys put the tying run on base, but a groundout and a caught stealing, kept the visitors from tying the game. Dalbert Siri closed things out for Lynchburg, working a scoreless ninth.
Frederick and Lynchburg traded multi-run innings three times in the first four frames. Following an RBI base hit by T.J. Nichting with men at second and third, an RBI groundout by Alejandro Juvier made it 2-0. The Hillcats countered in the bottom of the second though with a three-run homer by Anthony Miller.
An RBI double by Billingsley and a sac-fly by Garcia helped the Keys briefly regain the lead until a Conner Capel RBI single and a sac-fly by Miller put the home team back ahead 5-4.
Garcia added a bases clearing double in the fourth, the highlight of a four-run Keys inning, but a three-run Lynchburg frame brought everything to even terms until the sixth.
Jared Robinson (1-0) earned the win for the Hillcats, pitching 2.1 scoreless innings to go with five strikeouts. Humpal (0-5) suffered the loss, giving up six runs (four earned) on eight hits in three stanzas. He walked one and punched out two. Siri tallied his first save, pitching a clean ninth with a strikeout.
The Keys and Hillcats play the middle game of their series on Wednesday night at Nymeo Field. Left-hander Alex Wells (0-3, 4.42) starts for the Keys against Hillcats left-hander Sam Hentges (3-1, 2.88). First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m and the broadcast can be heard on frederickkeys.com and the TuneIn radio app.
On Friday, May 18, the Keys return to town to face the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. It is Family Fitness Weekend sponsored by Premiere Dental Arts, while highlights include an All Caps Night with an appearance by former Capital Mike Knuble and Hail to the Redskins Night, featuring a visit by former players Santana Moss and Gary Clark (presented by PMSI). For tickets, fans can call the Keys at 301-815-9939 or visit frederickkeys.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.