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Astros prevail in 20-inning marathon

Greeneville win streak now at seven games
July 18, 2016

Greeneville, TN - The longest game in Greeneville Astros history ended in stunning fashion as the Astros (13-11) outlasted the Bluefield Blue Jays (10-12) in 20 innings for their seventh consecutive win. The grueling game featured a walk-off single six hours and thirty-one minutes after the first pitch.

The beginning of the game saw scattered scoring as both teams managed to knock in a few runs early on. Greeneville opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning after centerfielder Marcos Almonte lined a ball to center resulting in his first triple of the year, eventually scoring on a wild pitch. The Astros lead would quickly be negated after Bluefield led off the top of the second inning with a Levi Scott solo home run that cleared the right field fence.

In the bottom of the second inning, the Astros offense stayed hot with third baseman Abraham Toro-Hernandez leading off with a single to centerfield. Jonathan Arauz followed up the single with a double to right field, putting two men in scoring position at second and third base. After a Chaz Pal walk, Reiny Beltre regained the lead for the Astros on a sacrifice fly to centerfield.

After a scoreless third inning, Bluefield opened the fourth with a triple, a walk and a RBI double by Scott to even the score at two apiece. Arauz made a heads up play at shortstop when a grounder was hit his way and he threw out a Bluefield player at home to prevent any further scoring at the moment. However, a bases loaded walk gave the Blue Jays a 3-2 lead.

Greeneville tacked on two more runs in both the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings to take a 4-3 lead. Luis Payano scored after a single, stolen base and error put him on third base until an Arauz RBI single brought him home. Almonte scored the following Greeneville run when he doubled in the bottom of the fifth and advanced to third on a wild pitch, eventually scoring on a fielder's choice. 

The lengthy game truly started when the Blue Jays tied the game at 4-4 in the top of the eighth with a Nash Knight leadoff home run. From that point on it was almost a complete standstill as neither team could find a way to outduel their partner. The Astros had plenty of chances to end the game with the first coming in the bottom of the tenth inning as Troy Sieber doubled off the wall with one out, but he was stranded. Fellow teammates Connor MacDonald and Chaz Pal both had opportunities later in extra innings but flew out on the warning track just a few feet away from walk-off home runs.

The Astros pitching staff came to the ballpark ready to play, tallying a club record 34 strikeouts on the night and only allowing four runs through 20 innings pitched. Devin Raftery and Tyler Britton led the way with eight and seven strikeouts, respectively. Left fielder turned pitcher Chaz Pal, pitched two innings of scoreless baseball as well as third baseman Tyler Wolfe. Both position players were able to hold back the Bluefield offense long enough for Reggie Johnson (2-0) to enter and have a chance to secure his second professional win.

In the bottom of the 20th inning Gabriel Bracamonte, who extended his hit streak to eight games, sent a single out to left field and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Toro-Hernandez then stepped up to the plate and singled to right field, allowing Bracamonte to score from second and end the seemingly endless game.

The Astros will go for their second consecutive series sweep Monday night against the Blue Jays at 7:00pm. Right-hander Ricardo Castro (2-0) will be on the mound for Greeneville against Kyle Weatherly (1-0).

The Astros are the Appalachian League affiliate of the Houston Astros. For more information, call (423) 638-0411.