JAMESTOWN – Late inning heroics, the stuff of legends, are becoming the norm for the Jamestown Jammers and the improbable became probable and then became history Thursday night at Russell Diethrick Park.
The Jammers gave up two home runs to let slip an early 2-0 lead, but saved their best for the ninth inning, beating the Geneva Redbirds 3-2 with a walk off single from Brandon Nannia with no outs for a game one win in the best of three playoffs in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.
The Jammers saved their magic, and their best for Manager Anthony Barone, until the final stanza.
The rally started when designated hitter Josh Brammell worked a walk to lead off the inning. Then Chase Keng lofted a fly ball into center field. The ball dropped into no man’s land when the Geneva outfielders couldn’t keep the ball in their glove. The error put runners on first and second.
Alex O’Donnell, playing his last game ever at the Jamestown ball yard, was intentionally walked. That brought up Nania, who spanked a sharp single into center field to score pinch runner Chris Rubottom as his teammates streaked out of the dugout to mob Nania.
The Jammers broke out early scoring a pair of runs in the first inning. Brammell walked, Keng doubled to center and O’Donnell bounced to second, scoring Brummell.
Nania then scorched a shot to center for a single, plating Keng.
Jammers starter Isaiah Moten took over from there, firing four-hit ball over seven innings. Geneva finally tallied in the sixth when Tanner Murray blasted a solo home run to left field.
Trying to shoulder some of their own late-inning glory, the Redbirds tied the game in the eighth inning with a deep, long two-out blast to center off of the bat of Nick LaBrasca. This knotted the score at 2-2.
Bradford, Pa., native Ryan Boyer grabbed the win with one inning of quick work. A one-out ninth inning single had the Geneva hopeful standing on their feet, but Boyer induced a double play grounder to second to kill the rally before it started.
For Jamestown, Keng had a double and run scored. O’Donnell tallied a double, a run, a stolen base and two walks. Nania, who was named player of the game, had a pair of singles and a pair of RBI, including the game winner.
The Jammers move on to Geneva for game two in the best of three series. This was the last home game for the Jamestown squad because the Babe Ruth World Series will take over the stadium the rest of the way.