ADELANTO, Calif. - For a second straight night, the Stockton Ports hit back-to-back home runs to take the lead when they were down to their final out. On Friday night, however, the lead held up as the Boys of Banner Island avoided a sweep at the hands of the High Desert Mavericks. Josh Reddick and Matt Olson hit back-to-back home runs with two outs in the ninth as Stockton stole the final game of their series with the Mavericks by a final of 10-9.
High Desert was first in the run column as they plated a pair of runs in the first off Ports starter Yeiper Castillo. Jabari Henry hit an RBI double to left to score Travis Witherspoon and Gabriel Guerrero followed with an RBI single to right to make it a 2-0 ballgame.
Stockton's first run came in the second inning as Ryon Healy started a two-out rally with a single to center. After Bruce Maxwell walked, Wade Kirkland doubled to right to score Healy. Maxwell would be thrown out at the plate on a relay to end the inning as the Ports cut their deficit to 2-1.
The Mavericks added to their lead in the third as Witherspoon hit a solo homer to left. High Desert made it a 4-1 game in the fourth as Jordy Lara led off with a homer to left off Castillo.
After being blanked by Mavericks starter Brett Shankin in the third, fourth and fifth innings, the Ports cut their deficit to a run in the top of the sixth. Bobby Crocker and Jaycob Brugman led off with back-to-back singles and Daniel Robertson drew a walk to load the bases, at which point Will Mathis came on in relief. Mathis got Reddick to hit into a fielder's choice groundout that brought in a run, and Olson followed with an RBI single to right to make it 4-3.
Shankin received a no-decision as he tossed five-plus innings and allowed three runs on five hits while striking out five.
Castillo came on to start the sixth and after giving up a leadoff single to Guerrero, retired Lara and Marlette and was on the cusp of stranding the runner. Tim Lopes came up next and drew a walk, and Patrick Brady followed with a three-run homer to left that increased the Mavericks lead to 7-3 and chased Castillo from the game.
Castillo would receive a no-decision, going 5.2 innings and allowing seven runs on 10 hits while walking four and striking out three.
The Mavericks added to their lead in the seventh facing Ports reliever Jonathan Joseph. With one on and one out, Henry lined a double off the wall in left to score Witherspoon. Henry went on to score later in the inning on a passed ball to make it a 9-3 ballgame. Joseph allowed two runs (one earned) on one hit in an inning-and-a-third of relief.
Trailing 9-3, Stockton went on to score seven runs over the final two innings to steal the victory. Robertson led off the eighth with his second home run in as many nights. Reddick, Olson and Renato Nunez followed with three straight singles with Nunez' driving in Reddick to cut the High Desert lead to 9-5, at which point Mathis was lifted for Min-Sih Chen. Chen, with runners at the corners, got Healy to hit into a double-play, which brought in a run to make it 9-6. He went on to strike out Maxwell to end the inning.
Chen came back out for the ninth and walked Kirkland to open the inning. After Crocker reached on a fielder's choice, Brugman came up and hit a grounder to first that was stopped by Lara the first baseman. Lara threw to second for the force out but shortstop Tyler Smith dropped the ball, an error that put runners at first and second with one out. After Robertson popped out, Reddick came to bat and hit the first pitch from Chen over the right field fence for a three-run homer that tied the game at 9-9. Chen was then lifted for Grady Wood (2-4), who surrendered a homer to right field to Olson that gave the Ports a 10-9 lead.
Chen went 1.2 innings and allowed three unearned runs on the home run by Reddick. Wood suffered the loss as he gave up the go-ahead run on Olson's blast.
After Omar Duran (2-2) pitched a scoreless eighth, Austin House (SV, 12) came on to pitch the ninth and try for redemption after blowing the save on Thursday night. Witherspoon led off and reached on a fielding error committed by Robertson to start the inning. After Smith laid down a sacrifice bunt, House got Henry to ground out to Robertson and Guerrero to strike out swinging to end the ballgame and notch the save.
After salvaging the final game of their series with High Desert in dramatic fashion, the Ports continue their road trip and kick off a four-game series in San Bernardino with the Inland Empire 66ers. Seth Streich (9-5, 3.07 ERA) will make the start in the series opener for Stockton, opposed by Inland Empire right-hander Mike Clevinger (1-2, 6.75 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. PDT.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.