Comets Nip Maples in 16-Inning Thriller
By Martin Abresch
June 14, 2016
KINGSTON—A marathon, 10-pitch at-bat decides a marathon, 16-inning game.
In the bottom of the 16th inning, with the score tied, 4-4, the Toronto Maples, having used every arm in their bullpen, turn to starter Wayne Conboy. He gets two outs but gives up two singles, and Kingston Comet second baseman Octávio Orozco comes to the plate. Orozco fouls off pitch after pitch after pitch and works the count full. On the 10th pitch of the at-bat, Orozco grounds a single to left. Bob Hawkins scores from second, and the Comets win a thriller, 5-4.
It was the second straight night that two teams went to extra innings, and it was the second straight night that Kingston came out on top by a score of 5 to 4. But the previous night’s game was, by comparison with tonight’s, downright speedy. It lasted only 11 innings.
Tonight’s game went 16 innings, took nearly 5 hours to play, and ended just two minutes before the stroke of midnight. 15 different pitchers threw 489 pitches. Toronto backup catcher Pete Lee was the only position player on either side not to see action.
The game also featured Clerc and Leclerc. Toronto’s Jean Clerc opened the scoring with a solo home run in the 3nd inning. In the top of the 15th, Clerc singled in the leading run. (Unfortunately, in his other at bats, Clerc managed to strike out 5 times.)
Cyrille Leclerc twice saved his Comets. With his team down, 3-1, in the bottom of the 9th, Leclerc deposited a two-run home run deep into the right-field bleachers, tying the game and forcing extra innings. With his team down, 4-3, in the bottom of the 15th, blooped a single to short right field, driving in the tying run.
Toronto rookies Hilton Madore and Jason Townsley combined to score two runs in the 7th. Madore singled and Townsley hit his first major league home run. Left-fielder Madore later, in the 11th inning, threw out a would-be winning run at the plate.
Young Toronto reliever Phil Jones lived up to his nickname, Smooth, and had perhaps the best line of the night. He threw just one pitch but got two outs, getting his batter to hit into an inning-ending double play. Smooth, indeed.
Time for a break.