Kids dream of the situation in which Viosergy Rosa found himself Friday night. Unlike so many of those unfulfilled fantasies, the 26-year-old made his a reality with one swing of the bat.
The A's farmhand slugged a two-out walk-off grand slam in the ninth inning as Midland rallied from a four-run deficit to stun Corpus Christi, 7-5, and take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-5 Texas League semifinals.
"It's huge," Rosa said. "We never gave up. It shows how much tenacity we have and how aggressive we are. We have faith in every guy in there and it's a huge momentum shift. Being up 2-1 is amazing, but we can't just go back out there and leave it at that. We're facing really good competitors on the other side with some very good arms and bats, so we have to go get it."
With the RockHounds trailing, 5-2, in the ninth, A's No. 6 prospect Richie Martin reached on an error and moved to third on Brett Vertigan's single. Max Schrock plated a run with a groundout and reliever Jacob Dorris hit Beau Taylor before fanning Tyler Marincov for the second out. After walking No. 7 prospect Yairo Munoz, Dorris was replaced by Ryan Deemes. Rosa fouled off a pitch, took another for a ball, then sent his first grand slam since 2013 over the right-field wall at Security Bank Ballpark.
The Odessa College product is no stranger to postseason success. Rosa batted .379 with four homers and 14 RBIs in seven playoff games with Double-A Jacksonville in 2014 and is a career .350 hitter with five long balls and 18 RBIs in 10 postseason contests.
"In that situation, my thought is, 'I'm gonna get him,'" the New York native said. "I definitely love being in those situations, those make-or-break situations. I had faced him about two weeks ago and remembered the pattern he was going with and I was able to execute this time.
"Usually, the wind here stops a lot of balls from going out to right field. All my coaches and teammates seemed to know it was gone, but when I hit it, I wasn't sure. But to do that was sensational, it was really sensational. I just put my hand up while running around the bases, hearing the crowd going nuts. It was straight shock. Once I turned the corner at third and saw all those guys at home waiting for me, it was a great feeling and I'll never forget it."
It didn't appear Midland would be in position to advance after Corpus Christi scored five times in the fourth. Bobby Boyd struck the big blow, blasting a three-run homer to erase a 1-0 deficit.
Martin had two hits and an RBI for Midland, while Vertigan went 3-for-5.
The rally made a winner of reliever Kyle Friedrichs (1-0), who allowed three hits and struck out two over 5 1/3 scoreless innings.
Midland hosts Game 4 on Saturday with the chance to close out the series in its quest to become the first Texas League team to win three consecutive championships since Dallas won its sixth straight in 1925.
"We're all excited," Rosa said. "It would be an honor to be a part of history and to three-peat. We're going to take it a day at a time but still stay confident that we'll get it done."
In other playoff action:
Cardinals 12, Naturals 11 (completion of suspended game)
Jacob Wilson drove in three runs and one of four players to record multiple RBIs as Springfield took Game 1 of the other semifinal series, a day after it was suspended due to inclement weather. Rowan Wick earned the win in relief. Royals No. 8 prospect Ryan O'Hearn fell a single shy of the cycle for Northwest Arkansas, going 4-for-6 with a pair of homers. It was the first time in Texas League postseason history that both teams scored at least 10 runs in the same game. Box score
Naturals 8, Cardinals 3
Royals No. 30 prospect Corey Toups homered for the third straight game and for the fourth time in the series to give Northwest Arkansas a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five semifinal. Frank Schwindel drove in three runs and Eric Stout pitched two scoreless innings to earn the win in relief. Box score
Michael Avallone is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MavalloneMiLB.