Ryan Ripken knocked a grand slam in the opening frame for Class A Delmarva on Wednesday, enabling Zach Jarrett, Seamus Curran and Trevor Craport to trot around the bases.
The Shorebirds' 3-4-5 hitters took notice and carried the long ball momentum into the fifth inning in a big way.
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Jarrett, Curran and Craport smacked back-to-back-to-back solo homers in the fifth, but Delmarva squandered a five-run lead in a 9-8, 10-inning setback to Kannapolis at Intimidators Stadium.
Jarrett and Curran expressed frustration after the loss, but it didn't completely erase the elation they and their teammates experienced midway through the contest.
"To be able to extend the first inning like that after two quick outs, it was huge," Jarrett said. "Seamus and Trevor both saw a lot of pitches in their first at-bats and were able to draw walks, and I got on base. We just weren't able to let him [Kannapolis starter Parker Rigler] get out of the first feeling too comfortable. We were all seeing the ball well and it was a great momentum shift.
"And then what we did in the fifth, that was crazy. You don't get to have that experience every day. You always want each teammate to do the best they can and try to reciprocate. The dugout was pumped for all three of us, and it was a great feeling. Every one was a high note."
Jarrett grounded out to end the second his next time up, while Curran popped to third, followed by Craport's second walk of the game in the third. Two innings later, Jarrett -- a 2017 28th-round pick -- batted with one out. He said he'd learned from Craport's earlier plate discipline and laid off an outside fastball before fouling off a heater in the zone.
"I remember I stepped out of the box and gathered myself and I knew I wanted to look for something up and battle a bit if I could," the North Carolina native said. "Their pitcher threw a changeup, but he left it up and I got the barrel on it and let it fly."
When Curran stepped in against Rigler, he said the last thing on his mind was a homer. The 2015 eighth-round pick remembered a game against Hickory earlier this season when he managed to surprise the Crawdads with a bunt after Jarrett went yard.
"Tonight, we laid off the off-speed in the dirt they were throwing at us and put some good swings on balls in the zone," he said. "We were lucky enough to put those good swings on at the right time.
"Those guys are great at getting on base around me. They give me a lot of RBI opportunities and we can score a lot of runs for our team. That's a pretty stacked lineup. Any pitching staff has got to plan around us."
After Jarrett's shot to left-center and Curran's to right-center, Craport sent a 1-1 offering over the wall in left-center for his seventh homer of the season. For Curran, it was his third roundtripper in seven games and came two nights after he went 5-for-5 with a homer, two doubles and four RBIs against Lakewood.
Kannapolis climbed within 7-4 in the sixth and tied it in the ninth on Tyler Frost's three-run homer. The Shorebirds regained the lead in the 10th as Ripken singled home Curran, but Laz Rivera scored on an error by Craport at third base and Tate Blackman followed with a walk-off single.
The five RBIs were a career best for Ripken, eclipsing a pair of four-RBI contests.