STOCKTON, Calif. -
Despite falling short of expectations on the field in 2012, the Stockton Ports provided a pair of thrilling moments to close out the campaign at Banner Island Ballpark. After scoring seven runs over the final two innings for a come-from-behind win on Sunday night, the Ports scored the final five runs of the game on Monday as they beat the Visalia Rawhide by a final of 5-4 on a walk-off hit from Michael Gilmartin in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Stockton stumbled out of the blocks in the first inning as Gerson Montilla hit a fly ball to deep right-center field that went off the glove of Myrio Richard on the warning track. Montilla wound up at third on what was ruled an error and scored on an ensuing single from Mike Freeman to give the Rawhide a 1-0 lead.
Visalia added to its lead over the next few innings as they got a run in the second on an RBI single from Ryan LaPensee, a run in the third on an RBI single from Carter Bell, and another run in the fifth on an RBI single from Tyson Van Winkle.
Ports starter Nate Long would go five innings and receive a no-decision, allowing four runs (three earned) on a career-high 10 this while striking out six.
Rawhide starter Andrew Chafin was perfect through the first 4.2 innings before allowing a walk to Ryan Ortiz with two outs in the fifth. The Ports didn't have their first hit until the sixth inning and it came right after Gilmartin reached on a fielding error committed by the first baseman Bell to open the inning. Yordy Cabrera came up and hit a two-run homer to left that cut Stockton's deficit to 4-2.
Chafin pitched around two walks in the inning and avoided further trouble in the frame. In the seventh, however, Chafin allowed a solo home run with one out to Dusty Robinson that made it a 4-3 ballgame.
Chafin went seven full innings and received a no-decision, allowing three runs (two earned) on two hits, both home runs, while striking out seven.
Seth Simmons took over in the eighth and his very first pitch to Chad Oberacker was belted over the right field fence, a solo shot that tied the game at 4-4. Simmons would go on to retire the next three batters he faced.
Ports pitching, beginning with the final out recorded by Long in the fifth, retired 13 of the final 14 Visalia hitters to close out the ballgame. Drew Gagnier pitched a perfect sixth while T.J .Walz tossed two scoreless innings, pitching around a leadoff double hit by Bell in the eighth. Blake Treinen (7-7) pitched a perfect top of the ninth and would be credited with the win.
Patrick Schuster (4-5) came on to pitch the bottom of the ninth for Visalia. With one out, Ortiz hit a pop-fly down the right-field line. Bell, the first baseman, and Montilla, the second baseman, collided as Bell was about to make the catch and the ball fell in fair territory. Ortiz wound up at third on what would be ruled a triple. After Robinson was intentionally walked, Gilmartin came to the plate and hit a 0-2 pitch into the gap in left-center field to win the ballgame.
Schuster suffered his fifth loss of the season for Visalia after allowing the winning run in the ninth.
With the win, the Ports close the season with an overall record of 56-84, while Visalia closes out its campaign at a mark of 64-76.
The Ports would like to thank all of their fans for their tremendous support in 2012. Opening Night 2013 is set for April 4th when the Ports are set to take on the Bakersfield Blaze. Season ticket packages are now available by calling (209) 644-1900.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.