A day after the running of the Boston Marathon, the Kannapolis Intimidators and the Rome Braves had their version of a marathon. It took 20 innings, but the Intimidators outlasted the Braves by the score of 3-2.
Early on, the game began as a pitcher's duel between Rome (6-7) starter Brett Oberholtzer and Intimidators (6-7) starter Terry Doyle. Both Oberholtzer and Doyle breezed through the first four innings of play before the Braves struck for two in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a 2-0 lead.
Battling back, the Intimidators got one in the sixth inning, as Kevin Dubler doubled to lead off the inning and he was singled home by Kyle Colligan to make it 2-1.
In the next inning, 19-year-old Trayce Thompson hit his second home run in his fourth start of the season, a solo shot that tied the game at two, which is where the score would stay for a very long time.
Doyle pitched seven innings, allowing six hits, two runs and striking out seven. Oberholtzer went eight innings, allowing six hits and two runs while striking out seven. Neither pitcher would factor in the decision.
Ryan Buch came on in the eighth for the Intimidators and pitched two scoreless innings to start the trend for the Intimidators bullpen, who, by game's end, have pitched 55 innings this season and allowed only four earned runs. Brandon Kloess would then pitch four, working out of runners on first and second with one out in the 11th with a double play, and watching a home-run distance fly ball land foul an inning prior.
Drew O'Neil entered in the 14th inning and worked two innings before making way to JR Ballinger who pitched the 16th inning through the 18th inning, only allowing one baserunner.
In the mean time, the Intimidators missed out on a number of chances in the early stages of the extra frames. The Intimidators left runners in scoring position in the 9th, left them loaded in the 11th, left a man on second in the 12th and another on third in the 13th. However, from the 13th to the 20th inning, the Intimidators hitters would then go 0-for-23, having just one baserunner reach on an error in the 16th inning.
For the Braves, Cory Rasmus pitched three scoreless, followed by Luis Avilan who worked four scoreless. Thomas Berryhill came on in the 16th and worked four scoreless before the 20th inning.
In the 20th, Dubler led off with a ground out to second before Daniel Wagner grounded out to the pitcher. After a single by Kyle Davis, Berryhill (0-1) overthrew first base on a pickoff attempt, allowing Davis to advance to second. Berryhill fell behind the next hitter Colligan and on a 3-0 pitch, Colligan roped a double to the corner in left, scoring Davis, and giving the Intimidators a 3-2 lead.
In his second inning of work, Garrett Johnson (1-0) got Ramon Flores, Matt Weaver and LV Ware all to ground out to earn his first win of the season, ending the game after 20 innings, ten pitchers and four hours and 41 minutes.
The win is the sixth in seven games for the Intimidators and third in a row. The Intimidators played a 21 inning game in the playoffs in 2005.
The Intimidators and the Braves will play game two of their four-game series on Wednesday at 1 pm. Cameron Bayne (1-1) will start for the Intimidators and he will be opposed by Arodys Vizcaino (1-1).
A box score to the game can be found here..
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.