Tigers win longest NYP game

Erupt for five runs in 26th inning to defeat Brooklyn


By Daren Smith / MLB.com | July 20, 2006 3:51 PM

Deik Scram was having a rough afternoon on Thursday at KeySpan Park.

But the center fielder delivered a two-run single in the 26th inning as the Oneonta Tigers defeated the Brooklyn Cyclones, 6-1, in the longest game in New York-Penn League history.

An 18th-round pick by Detroit in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, Scram was hitless in his first 11 at-bats as his batting average fell 38 points to .250. He redeemed himself in the 26th against Mark Wright, a first-year outfielder who had not pitched during three years at the University of Mississippi.

After Wright (0-1) walked Jeffrey Kunkel and Joseph Tucker, both of whom moved into scoring position on Louis Ott's sacrifice, Scram singled through the right side to break a 1-1 deadlock. The base hit opened the floodgates for Oneonta (18-11).

Singles by Scott Sizemore and Brennan Boesch produced another run before Sizemore scored on an error by first baseman Timothy Grogan to make it 5-1. With two outs, Angel Reyes singled to center field to cap the scoring.

"He was trying to make sure he didn't walk anyone else," Brooklyn manager George Greer said of Wright, who pitched in high school. "He laid the ball in there, and they hit some ground balls that found holes."

Randor Bierd (1-0), the Tigers' eighth pitcher, capped a spectacular effort by the bullpen with two scoreless innings. He allowed two hits and struck out one to secure Oneonta's fourth straight win.

After starter Christopher Cody gave up one run on four hits over six innings, Timothy Robertson, Casey Fien, Derek Witt, Jose Fragoso, Brett Jensen, Christopher Krawczyk and Bierd combined for 20 scoreless frames.

Fragoso held the Cyclones (13-16) hitless during his five-inning stint, limiting them to two walks while fanning two.

The longest New York-Penn League game had been last year's 22-inning marathon between the Batavia Muckdogs and Auburn Doubledays. That contest started on July 7, was suspended after 20 innings and completed on Aug. 14. The longest game in Minor League history remains Pawtucket's 33-inning victory over Rochester that began on April 18, 1981, and ended two months later on June 23.

Brooklyn had a handful of chances to stay out of the history books. In the 11th, the Cyclones' first two batters reached against Witt, but Jacob Eigsti bunted into a forceout, Timothy Grogan grounded out and Ivan Naccarata flied to center field.

An inning later, Daniel Cummins reached on catcher's interference to load the bases with two outs before Jonathan Sanchez was retired on a grounder to second base. And in the 16th, Eigsti was hit by a pitch and sacrificed to second by Grogan. Naccarata flied out, Joe Holden was intentionally walked and Fragoso retired Jon Schemmel on a comebacker.

"I'm disappointed we didn't win the game," Greer said. "As the opportunities presented themselves to us, we didn't take advantage."

Oneonta was not without its chances in extra innings. Ryan Strieby led off the 12th with a double and pinch-runner Brandon Timm took third on Jordan Newton's sacrifice. But he was stranded as reliever Jeremy Mizell retired Tucker on a groundout and got Louis Ott on a called third strike.

Tucker drew a leadoff walk in the 15th and made it to third with two outs before Boesch struck out. In the 22nd, the Tigers stranded a runner at third and in the 24th, they left the bases loaded.

Brooklyn starter Eric Brown gave up one run on five hits over seven innings. He had a 1-0 lead until Strieby singled home Ronald Bourquin in the fourth. Six relievers blanked Oneonta for 18 innings until the five-run 26th.

The teams combined for 34 hits -- just five for extra bases, 14 walks, seven walks and left 43 runners on base in the six-hour, 40-minute marathon. The game featured 684 pitches thrown by 15 pitchers, who combined for 36 strikeouts.

Greer watched most of the record-setting marathon from the clubhouse. He was ejected in the bottom of the first after arguing a force play at second base.

"It was just different," said Greer, who was involved in 19-inning Texas League game as a player in 1971. "I watched the game on closed circuit TV. ... You're not playing, you're watching. You can't seem to control anything when you're not involved."

Daren Smith is a staff writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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